NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

29 Mar. 2012

Statement by the NATO Spokesperson on lives lost at sea

The loss of life on a migrant boat in the Mediterranean in late March last year was a very tragic incident. To help determine what happened, NATO provided a significant amount of information to the Council of Europe.

All forces under NATO command are fully aware of their obligations under maritime law. On 27 March 2011, we received a general notice from the Italian authorities of a small boat probably in difficulty, which requested to advise of any sighting. This was sent to all NATO ships according to usual practice. We have no record of any NATO aircraft or ship having seen or made contact with this particular boat.

In fact, throughout our arms embargo mission last year, NATO ships and aircraft directly assisted in the rescue of over 600 people, and helped coordinate the rescue of many others. And throughout, we immediately notified the responsible national coast guards, as well as the International Organisation for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner's Office for Refugees.

Attached are the two letters that NATO sent to the Council of Europe to help determine what happened.

To the right side you will find sample photos showing NATO vessels rescuing a stricken boat off the Libyan coast during the United Nations mandated arms embargo mission led by the Alliance.

NATO Spokesperson on lives lost at the sea

29 Mar. 2012

NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu on lives lost at sea in March 2011.

Last updated: 29-Mar-2012 18:47

High resolution photos

NATO ships help migrants during Libya mission 25. Mar. 2011 Canadian Navy Vessel Charlottetown assists a boat of migrants on 25 March 2011 - Source: National Defence and Canadian Forces 
NATO ships help migrants during Libya mission 25. Mar. 2011 Canadian Navy Vessel Charlottetown assists a boat of migrants on 25 March 2011 - Source: National Defence and Canadian Forces 
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 10. Jul. 2011 Spanish Navy Vessel Juan de Borbón rescues over 100 migrants on 10 July 2011.  
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 10. Jul. 2011 Spanish Navy Vessel Juan de Borbón rescues over 100 migrants on 10 July 2011. 
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 10. Jul. 2011 Spanish Navy Vessel Juan de Borbón rescues over 100 migrants on 10 July 2011.  
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 10. Jul. 2011 Spanish Navy Vessel Juan de Borbón rescues over 100 migrants on 10 July 2011.  
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 26. Mar. 2011 On 26 March 2011 the Italian Navy Vessel ETNA rescued a stricken boat off the Libya coast with 300 migrants, and carried out 2 medvac to Lampedusa. 
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 26. Mar. 2011 On 26 March 2011 the Italian Navy Vessel ETNA rescued a stricken boat off the Libya coast with 300 migrants, and carried out 2 medvac to Lampedusa. 
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 26. Mar. 2011 On 26 March 2011 the Italian Navy Vessel ETNA rescued a stricken boat off the Libya coast with 300 migrants, and carried out 2 medvac to Lampedusa. 
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 26. Mar. 2011 On 26 March 2011 the Italian Navy Vessel ETNA rescued a stricken boat off the Libya coast with 300 migrants, and carried out 2 medvac to Lampedusa. 
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 26. Mar. 2011 On 26 March 2011 the Italian Navy Vessel ETNA rescued a stricken boat off the Libya coast with 300 migrants, and carried out 2 medvac to Lampedusa. 
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 26. Mar. 2011 On 26 March 2011 the Italian Navy Vessel ETNA rescued a stricken boat off the Libya coast with 300 migrants, and carried out 2 medvac to Lampedusa. 
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 26. Mar. 2011 On 26 March 2011 the Italian Navy Vessel ETNA rescued a stricken boat off the Libya coast with 300 migrants, and carried out 2 medvac to Lampedusa. 
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 26. Mar. 2011 On 26 March 2011 the Italian Navy Vessel ETNA rescued a stricken boat off the Libya coast with 300 migrants, and carried out 2 medvac to Lampedusa. 
NATO ships rescue migrants during Libya mission 26. Mar. 2011 On 26 March 2011 the Italian Navy Vessel ETNA rescued a stricken boat off the Libya coast with 300 migrants, and carried out 2 medvac to Lampedusa.