On the eve of the launch of Triton joint operation in the Mediterranean, the Chair of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), announced that he will be pushing for an inquiry into the policies and resources being utilised by member states in the region. "We have a moral duty to save those in distress at sea", he stressed.
The Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, Claude Moraes, said:
"Tomorrow Triton, which is intended to replace Mare Mostrum, will begin. It will have a third of the resources of Mare Nostrum and operate only up to 30 miles off the Southern Italian coast.
Triton will not be able to replicate the good work of Mare Nostrum, through which up to 150,000 people have been saved from drowning at sea. Thousands of lives are lost each year when migrants, with not better choice, risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean.
We have a moral duty to save those in distress at sea. It is a matter of observing the basic norms of maritime law. Human traffickers will not lose business because we do not assist boats in distress. People take the risk of the perilous journey because there is still hope that they will survive the crossing and it is still the best option they have.
As Chair of the European Parliament's Committee responsible for monitoring Frontex and the other agencies specifically tasked with border management in the Mediterranean, I will be pushing for an inquiry into the policies and resources being utilised by member states in the region".
Triton is a Frontex coordinated joint operation that will start its activity as from 1 November 2014 in the Central Mediterranean to support Italy. With 21 member states and Schengen associated countries participating, it is the biggest maritime operation Frontex has ever coordinated. Commission's Q&A on Triton
Studies show that up to 22,000 lives have been lost in the Mediterranean over the past 26 years.