The Italian civil rights organization CILD has published an updated guide on sea rescue called "Know Your Rights" to provide clarification on existing regulations.
The closing of ports and a tightening of rules on migrant reception by the Italian government has rekindled international debate on sea rescue regulations.
What rights do NGOs working in the Mediterranean and migrants rescued at sea have? In order to provide clarity, the Italian Coalition for Freedom and Civil Rights (CILD) has published an updated version of its "Know Your Rights" guide, which offers legal tools and practical examples on the issue.
'A sharp increase in deaths at sea'
"There are endless direct attacks on civil society carrying out rescues at sea. NGOs that conduct rescue operations continue to receive accusations from the media and politicians. The outsourcing of sea rescues to the Libyan coast guard and bans on docking at Italian ports for ships that get involved in rescues in the Mediterranean are the cause of a sharp increase in deaths at sea," the organization said in a statement.
The guide can be read online. It is structured to provide answers to the most common questions on the issue of rescues. It explains the basics of the law of the sea - the main regulations and conventions. The guide also mentions specific cases that have occurred in recent months.
Clarity on rules
"In order to provide a practical contribution to [help inform the] debate and tools to protect those directly involved in rescues at sea, [...] we created [the] guide," CILD said.
The organization decided to update the guide following the debate over the Aquarius case and the conflict regarding the Diciotti ship. "[There were] numerous cases in recent months in which we have seen serious violations of international, European and national regulations on the issue of rescue at sea and asylum rights", the organization wrote.