• July 8, 2019

The image below is of the Italian Ambassador Rafaele Trombetta proudly displaying his credentials in his dual role as Italy’s representative of the International Maritime Organisation

However Italy has imprisoned two Captains from sea rescue vessels for assisting migrants in distress at sea and landing those in need to medical help.

The IMO are quite clear that Mediterranean states (members of the IMO) are obliged to comply with SAR and safety of life at sea conventions we thought we would reind Ambassador Trombetta of this:

“The Honourable Mr Rafaele Trombetta
Ambassador of Italy
Embassy of Italy
14 Three Kings Yard, Davies Street
London, W1K 4EH

Ref: Detained persons – Carola Rakete and Pia Kemp

By email and post:

Dear Ambassador Trombetta

I write to protest at the detention of Italy of Carola Rakete, the captain of Sea Watch 3 who rescued 40 refugees recently in the Mediterraenan. I also express concern about the Pia Klemp captain of the vessel Luventa which was also engaged in humanitarian work in the Mediterranean,

You will be aware that the International Office for Migration has raised concerns in the past about the safety and welfare of migrants making the hazardous voyage across the Mediterranean. The UN Law of the Sea and IMO conventions make it an imperative for seafarers to ensure they render assistance to those in distress at sea and this is the only crime that these two seafarers have committed.

I draw your attention to comment to us in 2015 from the IMO when we raised this issue previously:

“You may wish to note all the European Coastal States of the Mediterranean Sea are Contracting governments to the SAR Convention. (Assistant Secretary General Director Maritime Safety Division)”

I understand you are the Italian government’s current representative to the International Maritime Organisation and therefore you should be well placed to ensure that the shameful injustice of their detention is rectified and that Italy meets its obligations under the IMO Safety of Life at Sea Convention.

I would welcome your assurance that you will clarify with the IMO if by rendering assistance to migrants in distress at sea and in need of medical assistance and taking them to the nearest ports necessary criteria under International maritime and humanitarian law is met

Yours sincerely.

Bernard Moffatt

Assistant General Secretary 
Celtic League

cc. Maritime Office Italian Embassy


For information the Celtic League is a fully accredited NGO of the UN (ECOSOC)”

Image: Amb. Raffaele Trombetta, Italy’s Permanent Representative at IMO, with Secretary General Kitack Lim at IMO HQ’s, London.

Bernard Moffatt

Celtic League

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