The Mediterranean Migrant Mess

Associations, Bribery and Corruption, Charity, Civil Unrest, Claims, Communication, Company Profiles, Corruption, Defense, Groundings, Health and Safety, Immigration, Maritime Accidents, Maritime Fraud, P and I Clubs, Pollution, Religion, Safety and Security, Sanctions, Seizures — By on September 16, 2015 at 11:17 AM
Captain John B. Dalby

Captain John B. Dalby

Captain John Dalby (Captain), AFNI, CEO, Marine Risk Management Ltd and Globalert Airborne Reconnaissance and Surveillance report on  The Mediterranean Migrant Mess (with no apologies for the absence of tear-jerking images)…

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. And again. And again. Until people, and specifically politicians, sit up and take notice and understand the realities of this mess. European governments, including Britain, must step up to the mark and recognise the fact that prevention is better than even more failed and missed rescue attempts, and more avoidable, horrifis, deaths by drowning.

Amidst all the political posturing and the appearance of parliamentarians (of diverse nationalities and political beliefs) running around like headless chickens, no thought has been taken towards listening to (much less taking notice of) the advice of those who know the sea and how to deal with it. Seafarers.

Is it because sending sophisticated surface craft (the laudable, if misguided, deployment by the UK of HMS Bulwark and now HMS Richmond, for example) with limited capabilities in this arena, enables those at the top to boast of spending millions of tax pounds on this worthy cause? It certainly gains column inches and air time, without actually contributing very much to the effort of preventing the loss of human lives. It’s simply not good enough to boast about using limited capability UAVs (another attention-grabbing,  media-favourite acronym), ironically admitting that the lack of an airborne surveillance capacity thus far has at last been recognised!

Especially when, for mere tens of thousands of pounds, many hundreds of such deaths can be prevented, embarkation points (and actual embarkation activity) can be pinpointed – enabling surface craft to be accurately deployed before tragedies occur – rescue efforts skilfully co-ordinated (thus saving more millions in wasted fuel burnt conducting patrols), and people smuggling gangs identified and dealt with.

It’s so true that £10 million grabs much more media attention (and political kudoes) than £50, 000 (less than a British MP’s salary). So is that the reason behind the reluctance to use cost-effective capabilities, guaranteed to succeed? It seems hard to believe, but stranger things have happened in politics ( of both the national and international variety). How else can we explain the fact that our governments – having known about these resources for at least 2 years – have failed to act cost-effectively, and ignored the readily and immediately available ISR capability?   Even one single human life is precious and priceless. Now, for once, a humanitarian effort can be carried out at relatively little cost and save potentially thousands of lives.

Lest we appear to be focusing on the UK,  it’s about time that Europe as a whole woke up to it’s responsibilities and to the real capabilities available, rather than forever working the spin machine. And concentrating on the media-centric, but relatively safe, landside activities in Hungary, for example.

The time to take action is long past. Yet even working behind the curve can bring the death toll down. Let’s not waste even more time and needless human sacrifice. It’s time to act decisively – and NOW.


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