IMO Secretary-General statement on the migrant shipwreck off Greek coast

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Following the sinking of a heavily loaded boat carrying migrants off the coast of Greece this week, International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim has issued a statement saying:

“I am profoundly saddened by the reports of the tragic loss of life off the coast of Greece, after a boat carrying hundreds of people reportedly capsized and sank. It is a sad fact that thousands of people undertake dangerous sea crossings in unsafe vessels putting their lives in the hands of unscrupulous operators – who have little regard for mandatory regulations such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) or the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR).

“I commend the efforts of the Greek authorities and the teams involved in the search and rescue operation, saving many lives. It is important for us to recognize the commendable efforts of the coast guards, navies, search and rescue agencies and other vessels that continue to rescue those in distress at sea, acting in the best spirit and tradition of seafaring.

“Every life lost at sea is one too many. IMO will continue to work with others in the United Nations system, like the Inter-Agency Group on the protection of refugees and migrants moving by sea, to address the complexities of this humanitarian issue and the unsafe practices associated with the transport of migrants by sea.

“I wish to offer my deepest condolences to all those impacted by this latest tragedy.”

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