Since its creation, SOS MEDITERRANEE has been committed to safer seas and to the respect of maritime law by coastal states. The situation at sea is as dramatic as ever, and the most basic rights are too often violated but SOS MEDITERRANNEE has performed over 300 rescue operations and saved over 37,000 lives,.
It seems impossible to me that such noble action could ever be criticized but we only have to read a newspaper to head about people’s disdain for these actions. How, in 2022, in just one year, could more than 2 000 people have lost their lives in these seas that allow us to carry on our trade? How can the sea that we rely on for our daily business be the source of death and terror for thousands of women, children and men for so many years? These seas that we visit on holiday with our family in the summer months. The Mediterranean.
It is with these questions that I decided to take on the Presidency of SOS MEDITERRANEE in Switzerland. For 3 years, I have been in awe at the efforts made by these few people in Europe to put an end to one of the deadliest migration crises in recent history. For 3 years, we have seen a growing increase in the need for such efforts and I strongly believe that no one should perish at sea on a makeshift boat.
This crisis is too easily ignored, without bodies, without witnesses. Would we, as a society, react differently if we were shown the thousands of bodies lost at sea? Would we, the shipping industry, react differently if we were shown the thousands of bodies whose silent unmarked graves lie under the routes our ships travel?
This association between SOS MEDITERRANEE and the Commodity Trading Week is a strong symbol. It is a symbol of the awareness of a sector, of an open-mindedness. Our profession is confronted daily with cases of distress in Mediterranean waters. Let us dare to act.
With these lines, I am launching a call for solidarity and action to the entire shipping community: Support SOS MEDITERRANEE, support Sea Rescue, join us and together let's put an end to this dramatic situation. No one should perish at sea. I know it, you know it. Let's make these words resonate in our daily activities.
– Richard Watts, President, SOS Mediterranee