Rotation 33 - Rescue 2

MSF files complaint to European Commission on search and rescue law

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has submitted a complaint to the European Commission, asking to put under scrutiny the Italian law 15/2023 and the Italian authorities’ practice of assigning distant ports. The NGO’s SOS Humanity, Emergency, Oxfam Italy and ASGI have each filed similar complaints as well.

NGO vessels engaged in search and rescue activities have been subjected to repeated inspections by Port State Control officers and prolonged administrative detentions, even in the absence of clear and proven dangers to persons, property or the environment.

The Italian Law 15/2023 restricts search and rescue vessels from carrying out more than one rescue operation at a time. In addition, Italy’s practice of assigning excessively distant ports from the rescue region, despite the existence of numerous closer ports, jeopardises the health and wellbeing of extremely vulnerable individuals; whilst imposing financial and other burdens on the rescue vessel.

Read the full executive summary report on our complaint to the European Commission below:

MSF files a complaint against Italian practices on search and rescue operations pdf — 7.13 MB Download
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Press Release 13 July 2023