Changes to Germany’s ship security rules foresee restricting the work of migrant rescue boats in the Mediterranean, many of which operate under the German flag, leaked plans from the Transport Ministry reveal.
The draft regulation, seen and reported on by public TV magazine Monitor on Tuesday, foresees stricter security requirements for ships that could hit many private rescue ships.
According to the plans, ships used for “political and humanitarian activities or comparable ideational purposes” should no longer fall under the “recreational purposes” category for which laxer rules apply.
Under the new rules, migrant rescue boats must comply with regulations comparable to those in place for freight ships.
For private rescue ships, which non-profit organisations usually run, the complex and costly adjustments to boats that this could entail would be near impossible to shoulder, migrant rescue organisations warned.
Several organisations said the changes could mean they would have to suspend their activities at least temporarily.
“The regulation means that our ship will be taken out of service,” Axel Steier from the rescue NGO Mission Lifeline told German public broadcaster ARD.
“For the people in distress at sea, this means that they have one less ship that might save them – and that means many, many dead,” he added.
The plans “do not aim to obstruct private sea rescue” but rather to “make their work more secure”, a Transport Ministry spokesperson told Monitor about the leaked rule change.
(Julia Dahm | EURACTIV.de)