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FRA presents report to European Search and Rescue Contact Group

FRA presented its report on how to prevent and respond to deaths at sea to the European Contact Group on Search and Rescue on 2 October.

It was an opportunity for FRA to share its suggestions for prompt and effective investigations of shipwreck incidents involving migrants and refugees.

EU Member States, the European Commission and relevant EU Agencies were present.

To prevent such shipwreck incidents from reoccurring, FRA suggests exploring whether the principles developed to investigate maritime accidents could be applied to incidents involving overcrowded and unseaworthy boats carrying migrants and refugees. On search and rescue, FRA proposed that EU Member States exchange border management best practices and use these to review, and if necessary, adjust their search and rescue protocols.

As FRA already pointed out in 2013 in its report on fundamental rights at Europe’s southern sea borders, in open sea areas where shipwrecks are more likely to occur, sufficient and appropriate vessels and aircrafts for search and rescue should be deployed.