International Law Has Failed Migrants to Europe

By Kristen McCannon

Under international maritime law, the nearest vessel to a ship in crisis must attempt to rescue people from the ship in distress. However, this rule has failed to save hundreds of migrants who have died trying to sail to Europe in recent weeks. A search and rescue patrol funded by the Italian government ended late last year, an effort by the E.U.’s border agency has failed to adequately replace the Italian patrol. The number of search and rescue ships in dangerous waters is therefore significantly lower than last year, contributing to the higher death toll.