Med coastguards brace for migrants

IMO warns shipping could face 10 times as many migrants as 2014.

Med coastguards brace for migrant wave

Stephen Spark

Europe is facing the prospect of huge increase in migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year, according to Fabrice Leggeri, executive director of the European Union (EU) border control organisation Frontex.

Leggeri told the Italian news agency ANSA that between 500,000 and 1 million migrants are ready to leave Libya. Earlier in the week, Peter Hinchliffe, secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping, warned the IMO-hosted High-level Meeting to Address Unsafe Mixed Migration by Sea that up to 450,000 people might need to be rescued at sea this year.

In his closing speech to the same meeting, IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu said this could mean merchant vessels will need to rescue 10 times as many people as they did in 2014. “We are just beginning to feel the potential magnitude and scale of these huge challenges the shipping industry is currently facing,” Sekimizu said.

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