Friday, 29/5/2020 | 9:38 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Written question – Smuggling and SAR operations in harmony – E-002732/2017

Figure 7 of Issue 22 of the Commission’s EPSC Strategic Notes displays a map which pinpoints all search and rescue (SAR) operations carried out adjacent to the Libyan coastline. The data is taken from operations conducted between 1 January and 13 July in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016. The report describes how SAR operations have had an unintended consequence:

‘… the broader role of EUNavFor Sophia and the increasing activity of NGOs has meant that SAR activities have shifted geographically, moving away from the Italian coast to waters closer to Libya and — in the case of some NGOs — even entering Libyan territorial waters’.

This is not the only trend. In 2014, SAR operations were incredibly scattered. By 2016, operations were highly concentrated in the same locations to the north of Zuwarah and Sabratah. What is more, Figure 7 shows some SAR operations in which the distance of the vessels from the coastline is incredibly close to, if not directly on, the shore.

1. Exactly how close to the shore were the 10 closest operations?

2. What is the average distance, in nautical miles, from the coastline of SAR operations carried out in 2014, 2015 and 2016?

3. If migrants start swimming out to SAR vessels and are rescued 0.01 nautical miles from the Libyan coast, would this still be considered a SAR operation, or would it cross into the realm of non-for-profit people smuggling?