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Left Party of Germany

  • Sea Rescue - Andrej Hunko, Member of German Bundestag

Bundestag study: Release of rescued persons in Libya also punishable for merchant ships

"Captains of German flagged merchant ships are liable to criminal prosecution if they bring migrants to Libya. Not only states, but also private individuals must therefore comply with the ban on refoulement. The Association of German Shipowners must hurriedly make this known among its members," explains Andrej Hunko, European policy spokesman for the Left Party in the Bundestag. 

Merchant ship captains of German-flagged ships can be prosecuted in Germany under § 221 StGB if they bring refugees to countries such as Libya. This is written by the Scientific Services of the Bundestag in the study "Maritime rescue by non-governmental actors" requested by Andrej Hunko. The German Regulation on the Safety of Seafaring (SeeFSichV) provides for compliance with the instructions of a competent Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC). However, the prohibition of refoulement is regarded as a higher-ranking law.

German Government confirms: Libyan authorities not contactable for maritime rescue

“Any further training of the so-called ‘coastguard’ in Libya does not address the actual problem and merely serves to establish these troops as the bouncers of the European Union. According to the Federal Foreign Office, the crews have had human rights and international law explained to them, along with maritime rescue and the use of maritime communication channels. This knowledge is not applied however, and the Libyan units continue to carry out unprofessional, brutal and often fatal missions. That is why cooperation with these troops must be put to a stop”, demanded European policy spokesman for The Left Party parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Andrej Hunko.

The Federal Government confirms that there are “difficulties in the availability electronically and by telephone” of the Libyan ‘coastguard’. The same was also said to apply “regarding language barriers”. The EUNAVFOR MED military mission has initiated a “monitoring mechanism” to tackle problems such as these, with the aim of evaluating maritime rescue missions.