In Mediterranean, commercial ships scoop up desperate human cargo

Commercial vessels are saving migrants as they try to cross the Mediterranean. One story shows how risky that is.

As published in Reuters 21 September 2015

DWF’s Head of Transport, Jonathan Moss, provides comment on shipping insurance in a Reuters article, which discusses how commercial vessels are saving migrants as they try to cross the Mediterranean and how risky this can be.

In October last year, bulk carrier CS Caprice was shipping a cargo of barley across the Mediterranean when it answered a call to help about 500 people who were drifting north of Libya without a skipper. A brewing storm threatened to capsize their tiny fishing boat.

“They had no food or water and they had been three days at sea,” said the ship’s captain, Joshua Bhatt. “When they showed small infants to us, it was a really pathetic sight ... They were asking, ‘can you take us to Italy?’”

Like any merchant ship, the crew of the Caprice was bound by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to “render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost.” Such rescues used to be rare. But as the number of refugees and migrants attempting to get to Europe has spiked over the past two years, it has drawn in more and more vessels like the Caprice.

Read the full article in Reuters »

Jonathan Moss

Partner - Head of Transport Sector

I act for international traders, charterers, shipowners, insurers and reinsurers, handling commercial disputes. I also advise on day-to-day issues arising in the context of the sale of goods and their transportation.