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Friday, 17 April 2015

They that go down to the sea in ships

For any non-mariner readers, there are two telling and compelling reflections upon the character of those that go down to the sea in ships manifest in the law of the sea. The first is in COLREGS, the code of practice that helps prevent ships colliding. Rules for which vessel stands on and which gives way are never absolute; every vessel has an absolute responsibility to avoid collisions and no 'right' to be bloody minded. There is no 'right of way' at sea in the sense of the same on our roads; if another vessel is in the wrong, there is a duty to give way to avoid colliding. Compare and contrast to the attitude on the Highway.

The second is the universal and timeless battle amongst those that do business in great waters to save lives from the sea. Assisting those in peril is not optional for mariners; there is an obligation to do so as strong and universal as the force that compels us to breathe. We are, humans all, in constant struggle with the watery realm for our lives. 

Thus leaving African migrants to drown in the Mediterranean is simply not an option for the master of any vessel making passage there and capable of assisting those in danger of drowning. No merchant ship, no warship of any nation can ignore the maritime cry for help. If they are in a position to do so. 

Italy alone cannot be expected to bear this burden. Nor can she maintain her fleet of warships on sea duty solely to help migrants. All of Europe must act to stop them leaving the ports of North Africa in the first place, despite Cameron's vainglorious crowing over removing the only authority in Libya that was willing to stem the tide. The traffickers must be blocked from buying end-of-life merchant vessels; European navies should cleanse the coasts of the Maghreb with inshore vessels, sinking burning and destroying all vessels over 5m. Ports of departure must be blockaded and vessels disabled and towed back to port before the 3 mile limit. 

Yes, this will violate the sovereignty of the 'Arab Spring' states, but if they can't halt the flood themselves we must do so for them.    


Dean Ditchbank said...

Raewald you are right (and lyrical too in first paras). It will become bloody, but it must remain moral. Refugee-loaded craft must be turned around, with shots across bows. The news must get to Africa that no Mediterranean crossing is possible. Why should Africa or the Middle East bleed and lose their most energetic citizens? And nothing threatens the chances for integration of our own recent arrivals more than still greater numbers of immigrants arriving behind them. No child will become a contributing member of our society if every UK primary school is an overflowing refugee camp.

Anonymous said...

Controversial sir, I do admit to having some thoughts rather akin to those aforementioned.

All of these migrants know it for a fact, that, if they land on the soil of any United states of Brussels territory, milk and honey will be forthcoming and it's the joys of benefits for life.

Push and pull factors.

Russia is the friend of Syria - why don't lots of Syrians flee overland through Turkey-Georgia - and up towards mother Russia? Could it be that, they ain't so welcoming up there?

Or, even flee East to the land of opportunity in Pakistan?

How about Saudi Arabia, many of these fleeing are of Muslim stock, the Gulf states satraps and Saudi are fabulously rich - per capita GDP off the scale beyond aught us lowly northern Europeans by way of comparison.....why don't they look after their own? A. because if they attempt to cross into Saudi - they'll likely be shot.


Notwithstanding the UK £12 billion bonkers foreign aid giveaway, why does Britain continue as are, to be the soft touch and who provides the infinity credit card to all of the undeveloped world?


Could it also be, that these people, whether they lived in the Maghreb, on the pestilence coast of west Africa, from the sub Sahel, DRC, Sudan, the Afar, India and all points east - could it be that their own governments send them on their way, put it another way perhaps their own authorities, officials tell them to - "fuck off to EUrope and Britain because we don't want you here".

Finally, don't expect Dave, Red Ed, nick... to have a fucking clue but already and one way or another......know this, that: the British taxpayer will be made to indemnify "the victims" and involuntarily contributing. Funny it is but a laugh it ain't. When, the left always bring out their consciences when pictures of foreing crises hit the screens of UK TV.... help and aid is needed - AND giving other peoples money away [British taxpayers] is what they do so well.

Soft is the word for it, soft in the head.

Anonymous said...

foreign even.

Bloke in Lincoln said...

I'm damn sure ISIS and their ilk is running pretty much the entire trade. They have both the resources and organisation to facilitate the purchasing of boats. They can make money by overloading leaky old boats with the desperate. They can smuggle in some of their own as part of the consignment, to cause havoc wherever they end up, and they're unlikely to care one way or t'other if the boat capsizes.

Why else are boats routinely left with controls locked, headed for Italy, while the crew disappears to do it all again?

As a long term exercise in destabilising European countries and spreading ISIS' malign influence, it's a masterstroke, surely?

Anonymous said...

What about the latest story from Italy where the police have arrested 15 muslim men as they threw all the Christians overboard to their deaths during the crossing.

Yeah, we really need more of those peace loving muslims here in Christian Europe.

hatfield girl said...

All Italian vessels are pulling drowning migrants from the sea daily. The migrants are being driven onto boats at gunpoint in any weather. They are ware-housed for up to a month while they are forced to garner more money from relatives, beaten while phoning their families and friends so that their screams can be heard. Then, the last money extracted, they are launched to take their chances.

"The traffickers must be blocked from buying end-of-life merchant vessels; European navies should cleanse the coasts of the Maghreb with inshore vessels, sinking burning and destroying all vessels over 5m. Ports of departure must be blockaded and vessels disabled..."

Italy has been following this policy for months if not more; all migrant vessels have been sequestered and destroyed. As a result Italian fishing vessels are being attacked and taken over by terrorists masquerading as the Libyan coastguard in boats seized as ISIS advances along the coast. The terrorists are engaging the Italian coastguard as well, in battles for the emptied migrant near hulks once the migrants have been tipped into the sea as the Italian coastguards approach to assist. The coastguard is armed but pitched battles with automatic weapons was not their usual work environment.

Turkey has had to fire at migrant boats ignoring all instructions to stop in a variant of people trafficking that sees richer migrants organising better vessels, armed and willing to fire, breaking through blockades by force. Which also ends up with people in the water or on burning ships.

The evening news has become unwatchable for the horrors going on in the Mediterranean.

Raedwald said...

HG - many thanks for this; the issue doesn't even make the news in the UK unless the casualties are in the hundreds, when it gets a mention after a piece on Kim Kardashian or soccer players.

At the start of the 19th C there was a similar problem with Barbary pirates; the RN sent a flotilla of frigates and corvettes to burn the boatyards.

Now I'm not sure if we even have naval assets suitable for the job.

Anonymous said...

Well, the post is about migrants in the Med, but there's a throwaway about the highway.

For my sins (35 in a 40 area, and some dodgy cops) I was made to do a 'speed awareness' course. This was as you might suspect, nothing of the kind, but a death by powerpoint afternoon. One video showed that safety film of a car pulling out of a junction and a motorcyclist hitting it. Oddly, it was fimed from the perspective of the front seat passenger, who couldn't see through the driver's head. Then we were shown the driver's view: the M/C was clearly visible 100s of yards away, with a headlight, straight road, no street furniture. Said motorcyclist took no avoiding action on the otherwise empty road, no reduction in speed, etc etc. The car driver was 'clearly' in the wrong.

There were multiple instances of this egregious nonesense, and in the end, I stopped pointing them out - other drivers, stopped at 95 on the motorway, for example, perhaps not wanting to be targetted by our boys in blue.

Brightside Bob said...

Re: Anonymous - Speed Awareness.

I am suprised (relieved) that you were allowed to make critical points.

I had to attend one of those. We were warned that ANY dissent would result in expulsion & the automatic issuing of penalty points.

Anonymous said...

The other change required is to land the migrants back in North Africa, rather than Italy.

They might then be less keen to board an unseaworthy vessel.

Cascadian said...

Like Hatfield Girl I have a deal of sympathy for these unfortunate souls, it would seem that they are the desperate trying to escape the muslim nutters that now infest their once stable countries. The problem was caused by Obama and Camoron with their crazy Arab Spring nonsense, their countries should bear the burden of humanitarian aid.
There is a cost related to stupidity ,and obama and camoron are very stupid.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

As a commercial mariner - and I have worked the waters offshore Libya & Egypt - I deeply resent the placing of these people in peril.

The perpetrators of this should be hunted down and dealt with.

While we are simply dealing with the consequences of their antics they are laughing at us....

Time for a big stick, robusty applied.

James Higham said...

When you mentioned COLREGS, I thought it was something I'd posted at first. It's unwritten that one saves lives, not selects Christians and throws them overboard.

Anonymous said...

This is a problem for the UN, not Europe alone.

Making safwe enclaves in their own countries, patrolled and defended by UN troops with a mandate to shoot to kill, the natives of Libya, Syria et al should have all the protection they need IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

The cost of keeping them there and defending them from their own 'people' would be far less than the cost of allowing them 'all' to travel across Europe (inevitably heading for the UK).

This is what the UN is SUPPOSED to be about - not lecturing us on bloody climate change.

Cascadian said...

Anon 22:18

You mean the Hamas-supporting UN, the one that drastically made the situation in Haiti worse-that one?

The UN only adds to the misery at massive cost and enrichment to the Clintons.

Here is a serious attempt at a solution-camoron, obama and clinton caused the crisis, let them pay for the solution. The refugees should be accepted and rehoused in African cities-Detroit, Ferguson, Chicago, London.

Perhaps then interfering politicians would be less inclined to plunge countries into crisis to satisfy their own deluded dogma.