UK-based charity Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) announced its cooperation with maritime training provider Marlins on the development and endorsement of a new e-learning course addressing the rescuing of migrants at sea.
The new course, entitled Humanitarian Response, aims to provide learners with an understanding of the reasons why migrants and refugees choose a sea route, suggestions for planning and preparing ship and crew for possible involvement in large scale rescue operations and guidelines and suggestions for vessels involved in the rescue of large numbers of migrants or refugees at sea.
Humanitarian Response builds on practical experience from private maritime security companies (PMSCs), vessel owners and managers, combined with the important legal and humanitarian perspectives. According to the developers, the aim is to address a knowledge gap in the maritime industry; ensuring an effective and efficient response to crisis scenarios involving migrants and refugees.
Mike Pearsall, Product Manager at Marlins, explained the rationale for this new e-learning course: “We are seeing harrowing scenes in the media of the often deadly journeys taken by migrants and their traffickers through the Mediterranean
and South China seas. The SOLAS Convention was never designed to accommodate large-scale rescue operations of migrants, so seafarers are facing an unpredictable challenge that they are not currently prepared for.”
David Hammond, Founder of Human Rights at Sea, added, “Whilst the rescue of migrants and trafficked people at sea seemingly represents an unwelcome additional burden to an overstretched shipping industry, the legal and moral obligations cannot be ignored. The issue is no longer an exception, but may well become a norm as the migrant flows continue north through Africa
and from the Middle East
. This new and important training provides officers, crew and companies with up-to-date information to help prepare for an encounter with migrants and trafficked people in danger at sea requiring the duty to render assistance to be undertaken by commercial vessels.”