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Schiano di Pepe, L (2020). Search and Rescue in the Central Mediterranean Sea: A Legal Analysis of the Recent Italian Practice. German Yearbook of International Law, 63(1), 121-148. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.63.1.121
Schiano di Pepe, Lorenzo (2020). "Search and Rescue in the Central Mediterranean Sea: A Legal Analysis of the Recent Italian Practice" German Yearbook of International Law, vol. 63no. 1, 2020 pp. 121-148. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.63.1.121
Schiano di Pepe, L (2020). Search and Rescue in the Central Mediterranean Sea: A Legal Analysis of the Recent Italian Practice. German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 63 (Issue 1), pp 121-148. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.63.1.121

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Search and Rescue in the Central Mediterranean Sea: A Legal Analysis of the Recent Italian Practice

Schiano di Pepe, Lorenzo

German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 63 (2020), Iss. 1 : pp. 121–148

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Lorenzo Schiano die Pepe, Professor of EU Law and Jean Monnet Chair in International and European Law of the Sea, University of Genoa, Italy.

Abstract

The article tracks the most recent trends of Italian practice in the field of Search and Rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean Sea. It does so by focusing on the international and European legislation that constitutes the backdrop of such practice, the analysis of legislative and administrative measures that have been adopted by Italian authorities, and the most relevant domestic case law. The increasing role played by non-governmental organisations constitutes one of the main focuses of the discussion and particular attention is paid to the attempts that have been made to govern their operations also by the implementation, in 2017, of a dedicated ‘Code of Conduct’. The ‘closed ports’ policy operated by Italy and its enforcement vis-à-vis State as well as non-governmental organisation vessels is also scrutinised together with its impact on the doctrine of ‘Place of Safety’ which must be ensured to every migrant rescued at sea.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Lorenzo Schiano di Pepe\nSearch and Rescue in the Central Mediterranean Sea: A Legal Analysis of the Recent Italian Practice 121
I. The International Legal Framework Relevant to SAR Activities in the Central Mediterranean Sea 121
II. SAR-Related Maritime Operations in the Central Mediterranean Sea: The Role of Italy Between Unilateral Action and European Union-Led Initiatives 124
A. Mare Nostrum 124
B. Frontex Joint Operations Triton and Themis 125
C. 2015 Developments: (i) Mare Sicuro, (ii) Continuous Loss of Life in the Mediterranean Sea and (iii) EUNAVFOR MED Operations Sophia and Irini 128
1. Mare Sicuro 128
2. The ‘Deadliest Disaster in the Mediterranean’ 129
3. EUNAVFOR MED Operations Sophia and Irini 121
III. Non-Governmental Organisations as Providers of Search and Rescue Services 121
A. Non-Governmental Organisation Search and Rescue Practice and Analysis 121
B. Italy’s ‘Code of Conduct for NGOs Undertaking Activities in Migrants’ Rescue Operations at Sea’ of 2017 121
IV. Italy’s ‘Closed Ports’ Policy and the Question of the Place of Safety 121
A. Italy’s ‘Closed Ports’: From Political Statements to Ministerial Directives to Actual Legislation 121
B. Italy’s ‘Closed Ports’ Policy in Practice and the Question of the ‘Place of Safety’ 122
1. NGO Units: Open Arms and Sea-Watch 3 122
2. Military Units: Diciotti and Gregoretti 122
C. Covid-19 Pandemic, Migration by Sea, and SAR 122
V. Latest Developments and Concluding Remarks 122