Removal of the registration from Aquarius migrant ship is inhumane, irresponsible and shameful, says Bullmann

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Following the Panama Maritime Authority's (PMA) decision to withdraw the registration of the Aquarius 2 migrant rescue ship, under pressure from Italian government, the president of the S&D Group, Udo Bullmann, said:
 
“This is an inhumane, irresponsible and shameful act.
 
"Once again, the Italian Minister of interior, Matteo Salvini, demonstrated the lows to which he will go by forcing the Panama Maritime Authority (PMA), under threat of trade sanctions, to withdraw the registration flag of the Aquarius 2 migrant rescue ship. With this act, Mr Salvini and the Italian government have condemned hundreds of people, desperately seeking safety, to a watery grave. Aquarius 2 was the last vessel of its kind operating in the central Mediterranean trafficking route, alongside the EU Common Security and Defence Policy operation Sophia, and the EU Frontex operation Themis.
 
“Heads of State and governments of the EU once again missed an opportunity in Salzburg to agree on common rules for search and rescue and for the disembarkation of people in central Mediterranean, leaving a void at sea that risks condemning thousands of people to death. This would be, and already is, a shame for the values the EU stands for.
 
“Europe can no longer be at the mercy of the cruelty of Salvini or Orbán. We finally need to set common and effective international search and rescue rules in the Mediterranean, with the contribution from all member states. Sharing responsibility, not spreading irresponsibility, is the only way forward.
 
“Our call to reward the NGOs that save the lives of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean, with the European Parliament's 2018 Sakharov Prize, is now more urgent and necessary than ever. NGOs have complemented the action of EU missions and of frontline member states and filled the shameful void left by the lack of commitment and humanity of several EU governments – primarily the Italian Populist and Orbán in Hungary. Thanks to NGOs’ courageous actions, thousands of lives have been saved at sea since 2015.”
 

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