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FOCUS - Non-State Actors and Human Security in Navigable Spaces N. 2 - 17/01/2022

 Private Ships Faced with Large-Scale Rescue Operations at Sea - A Challenge for the Law of the Sea

Abstract [En]: The existence of an obligation to render assistance applicable to the private sector is clear. However, its implementation gives rise to numerous challenges. The present article highlights the difficulties faced by the private ships and the shipping industry when involved in a rescue operation in the context of migration and demonstrates that they are not properly addressed by the international law of the sea, leading to detrimental consequences on the implementation of the obligation to render assistance at sea. The lack of political will of States to accept the disembarkation of migrants in their ports has serious practical, legal, and commercial consequences for the shipmasters and their crews. Besides, most of the time, commercial ships are not equipped nor trained for conducting search and rescue missions making them both significantly expensive and dangerous.

 

Abstract [It]: L'esistenza di un obbligo di assistenza in mare applicabile al settore privato è giuridicamente chiara. Tuttavia, la sua attuazione pone numerose sfide. Il presente articolo mette in luce le difficoltà incontrate dalle navi private e dall'industria marittima quando sono coinvolte in un'operazione di salvataggio nel contesto della migrazione. La mancanza di volontà politica da parte degli Stati di accettare lo sbarco dei migranti nei loro porti ha gravi conseguenze pratiche, legali e commerciali per i comandanti e il loro equipaggio. Inoltre, la maggior parte delle volte, le navi commerciali non sono attrezzate né addestrate per condurre missioni di ricerca e soccorso, il che le rende molto costose e pericolose.

 

Key words: Obligation to render assistance at sea; Merchant ships; Disembarkation; Migration by sea

Parole chiave: Obbligo di assistenza; Navi mercantili; Sbarco; Migrazione marittima

 

Summary: 1. Introduction. 2. The obligations of the private ships under international law of the sea. 2.1. Relevant Law of the Sea. 2.2. Specific Instruments and Guidelines. 3. The challenges faced by the private sector. 3.1. The lack of preparedness. 3.2. The lack of coordination for disembarkation. 3.3. Security, safety and sanitary issues. 4. Conclusion.



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