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MSF solicita que se suspenda la detención del barco de rescate Geo Barents

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Al menos 820 personas han muerto en el Mediterráneo central en lo que va de año

Ámsterdam/Augusta, 23 de julio de 2021.- Médicos Sin Fronteras (MSF) ha solicitado oficialmente la liberación de su barco, el Geo Barents, después de tres semanas de detención y tras haber respondido a todas las solicitudes realizadas por la Autoridad Marítima Italiana, que el 2 de julio identificó 22 deficiencias que llevaron a la detención administrativa del barco. Desde entonces, se han abordado todas estas deficiencias, a pesar de que tanto MSF como el propietario del barco consideran que la detención no se basa consistentemente en las regulaciones pertinentes y es demasiado punitiva con el Geo Barents, los propietarios y los fletadores.

Declaraciones en inglés de Frauke Ossig, representante de Operaciones de Búsqueda y Rescate de MSF:

"Today MSF officially requested the Italian authorities to release its fully equipped and certified search and rescue ship the Geo Barents, with no further delay", declares Frauke Ossig, MSF's Representative for Search and Rescue.

"While MSF fully supports all legitimate maritime procedures and controls that ensure the safety of navigation at sea, MSF challenges the legitimacy of the Geo Barents' detention, in particular we dispute the Italian authorities' statement regarding the ship's unsuitability to carry out systematic search and rescue activities alleging that the ship had too many people on board. International law does not stipulate specific international classification for humanitarian rescue ships. Such an interpretation of maritime law disregards the fact that rescue operations, as per the duty of shipmasters to provide assistance to people in distress at sea, are considered force majeure situations, as per Article IV of the SOLAS Convention and, thus, the number of people on board should not be taken into account for the purpose of ascertaining the compliance with other provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea".

"While humanitarian rescue NGOs are filling the deadly void left by states' disengagement from their responsibility to provide dedicated SAR capacity in the central Mediterranean, it is unacceptable that NGOs are prevented from saving lives", Frauke Ossig adds. "The death toll is increasing by the day and lives continue to be needlessly lost in the Mediterranean. The administrative detention of the Geo Barents is costing lives and wasting crucial resources which would allow us to keep saving people in distress right now".

Silvia FernándezPress Officer, MSF España