The agreement between the Italian Republic and the Sovereign Order of Malta for saving human life at sea was signed yesterday, Tuesday 29 September, in the Transport Ministry headquarters in Rome. It strengthens cooperation in the medical and first-aid sector within the context of search and rescue at sea. Specifically, in emergency situations, the Coastguard will put its resources and operating assets at the disposal of the Order of Malta’s Italian Relief Corps (CISOM) and, in a spirit of reciprocity, CISOM will offer the professionalism of its men and women, thus increasing the effectiveness of interventions in the medical aid and protection of human lives sector.
The agreement was signed by Minister Paola De Micheli and by Grand Chancellor Albrecht Boeselager, accompanied by Ambassador Stefano Ronca, Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, the President and National Director of the Italian Relief Corps, Gerardo Solaro del Borgo and Gianni Strazzullo, as well as Marco Rago, Coordinator of CISOM International Cooperation Programmes.
During 2020, the flow of refugees and migrants arriving in Italy has been intensifying again; figures to date show that landings on Italian coasts have already overtaken those recorded during 2019. As the Grand Chancellor pointed out during his meeting with Minister De Micheli, refugees and migrants are now tending to cross the Mediterranean on very small vessels, making it more difficult for the Coast Guard to detect them and rendering these journeys even more dangerous.
Boeselager also stressed the need to promote common European migration policies and confirmed the Order of Malta’s full commitment to combatting human trafficking.
The agreement signed yesterday encourages a closer bilateral cooperation for saving human lives at sea and further reinforces the 1991 international agreement between the Italian Republic and the Sovereign Order of Malta regarding serious emergencies caused by natural events or by human agency. Thanks to a series of bilateral agreements, the Order of Malta’s Italian Relief Corps has been carrying out search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean Sea since 2008 in close cooperation with the Italian authorities.