Migrants at sea plan is ‘progress’

IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu has welcomed the EU plan of action to address the crisis situation of migrants drowning at sea in the Mediterranean.

EU leaders pledged to triple the funding for rescue operations and threatened to target smugglers’ boats with military strikes.

Sekimizu said the 10-point plan represented “progress” towards his primary goal of preventing unsafe, overloaded craft from taking to sea in the first place.

“Action needs to be taken against the unscrupulous criminals who organise these treacherous passages,” he said.

At a multi-UN agency meeting hosted by the IMO in March it was agreed to establish a mechanism to enhance existing inter-agency communication with respect to the maritime aspects of mixed migration by sea.

At least 1,750 people have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean, a 20-fold increase on the same period in 2014.