The International Organization for Migration has estimated that from 2014 to 1 September 2023, over 28,100 people died or went missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe to escape war or persecution or to pursue a better life.
This paper provides an overview of criminal investigations and other legal proceedings in selected European Union (EU) Member States against civil society organisations deploying search and rescue (SAR) vessels and aircraft in the Mediterranean and/or against individual crew members. Since 2018, national authorities have begun administrative and criminal proceedings against crew members or vessels involved in SAR operations at sea.
FRA published a note in October 2018 on Fundamental rights considerations: NGO ships involved in search and rescue in the Mediterranean and criminal investigations. Since then, the Agency has been publishing regular updates on NGO ships involved in SAR operations, the status of legal proceedings against them and on rescue vessels kept at sea for more than 24 hours while waiting for a safe port.