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- 18 June 2021
June 2021 Update – Search and Rescue (SAR) operations in the Mediterranean and fundamental rights
The International Organization for Migration estimates that about 813 people died or went missing crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe to escape war, persecution or to pursue a better life in 2021, up to 15 June. This is an average of almost five people per day. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) collects data on NGO ships involved in search and rescue in the Mediterranean, legal proceedings against them, as well as difficulties in disembarking migrants in safe ports. In past years, civil society vessels with a humanitarian mandate to reduce fatalities and bring rescued migrants to safety in the European Union saved a significant number of migrants in distress at sea. Since 2018, national authorities initiated administrative and criminal proceedings against crew members or vessels. They also limited access to European ports, caused disembarkation delays and left rescued people at sea for more than 24 hours waiting for a safe port.