The Humanitarian Crises at Sea: Rescue Efforts for Immigrant Boat & Submarine Passengers

This month, we’ve witnessed two devastating incidents involving the loss and disappearance of people at sea. The contrast between the massive rescue effort to save five people on board a submersible visiting the Titanic wreck and the tragic capsizing of a boat carrying hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean is stark.

On June 14th, an overloaded fishing trawler capsized in international waters near Greece, resulting in the loss of more than 500 lives, including women and as many as 100 children. Only 104 people survived that morning, with no women or children among them, and 81 bodies have been recovered so far. This tragedy will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst migrant catastrophes in recent Mediterranean history.

Today, the search for the missing submersible, carrying five people who each paid a hefty $250,000 ticket to explore the Titanic wreck, has been ongoing since it’s disappearance on Sunday. Tour firm OceanGate, along with various government agencies, US and Canadian navies, and commercial deep-sea firms, are all working relentlessly to rescue the passengers. France has sent a rescue ship with an underwater robot to help. Although the oxygen supply is expected to run out today, rescuers remain optimistic and are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to save the five passengers.

However, the situation is vastly different when it comes to refugees. Europe has drastically reduced its rescue efforts, with many countries building walls and blocking boats. Activists have accused Greece of failing to assist refugees for hours while their boat was in distress on its way to Italy, although Greece denies these claims.
Greece and EU border force fronted are also facing allegations of illegal pushbacks against refugees, with the EU placing limitations and restrictions on rescue ships. Various news outlets have pointed out the minimal effort to save the hundreds of lives lost in the tragic boat sinking, in contrast to the tremendous rescue efforts made to save the five passengers on board the submersible.

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