The code of conduct promoted by the Italian interior ministry for NGOs carrying out migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean has divided organizations. With the recent addition of Spain's Proactiva Open Arms, four NGOs have now signed the code while four others haven't.
The other three who signed on are Save the Children, MOAS and sea-Eye. SOS Mediterranee, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Sea-Watch and Jugend Rettet remain opposed to the code.
SAVE THE CHILDREN is the largest independent international organization that has been working since 1919 to improve the lives of children. It operates in 120 countries. Since 2016, its vessel Vos Hestia has been carrying out search-and-rescue operations. MOAS was founded in 2014 by Italian-American entrepreneurs Christopher and Regina Catrambone. It is a Maltese organization.It has rescued over 35,000 migrants in the Mediterranean with the Phoenix vessel and using drones. The organization has denied receiving funding from American-Hungarian business magnate and philanthropist George Soros after its funding sources were questioned.
SEA-EYE was born in 2015, when a group of people from the German city of Regensburger led by entrepreneur Michael Buschheuer decided they wanted to act to stop refugees from dying in the Mediterranean. The NGO bought an old fishing boat and adapted it for search-and-rescue operations. It rescued 5,568 people in 2016.
PROACTIVA OPEN ARMS is a Spanish association based in Barcelona. It has operated in the Mediterranean since 2016 with the ship Golfo Azzurro. It has rescued over 18,000 people as of today.
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS has operated over the past three years in operations to search and rescue migrants and provide medical assistance in the Mediterranean with three vessels. From April to November 2016 the organization has rescued 19,708 people from overcrowded boats and provided assistance to another 7,117 taking them to Italy and giving migrants medical care aboard the ships.
SOS MEDITERRANEE is an Italian-Franco-German independent humanitarian association which operates with the Acquarius vessel, a former fishery protection vessel that can accommodate up to 500 people. Private donors provide 99% of its funding and Doctors Without Borders contributes to the ship's renting fee.
SEA WATCH is a German NGO that has rescued 20,000 people in 2016. The first rescue operations were conducted with a second-hand fishing vessel, bought with the savings of a German shop owner and four entrepreneurs.
JUGEND RETTET in 2016 rescued 6,526 people with the Dutch-flagged Iuventa which was seized by prosecutors in Trapani on charges of favoring illegal immigration. The Berlin-based NGO was created by a ''network of young Europeans'': 16 of them raised funds online to buy and convert an old fishing boat, turning it into the Iuventa. Picture shows Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) field coordinator, Michele Telaro starting the distribution of lifejackets during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea (Archive, picture distributed by MSF).