Echoes

A Civil MRCC publication

“Echoes” is a critical review between 20 and 30 pages long, published every two months, addressing actors of solidarity at sea as well as any person interested in border struggles. The main goal of this publication is to make visible the impressive cooperation that already exists between organizations and networks present in the Mediterranean through maritime rescues carried out by NGO ships, aerial monitoring flights with civil aircraft, as well as through the Alarm Phone hotline.

In Echoes, significant aspects of SAR in the Central Mediterranean are reflected upon, actual topics discussed, analysis and research presented, and the self-organized struggles of refugees and migrants highlighted. The idea is also to circulate the existing knowledge among SAR actors but also to bring up new topics.

Click on an issue to read or download in PDF format. Past issues are displayed further below this page. Please, contact us if you have any question, suggestion or if you would like to contribute to the next issues. Echoes is a collaborative publication!

A huge thanks to our friends from Mediterranea Saving Humans for the Italian translation and to the CCFD Terre Solidaire for supporting the translation into French.

ECHOES #12 – LIBERATION DAY

May 2024

The man on the picture liberated himself when he jumped from a so-called Libyan Coast Guards ship into the sea and escaped an intended pushback to Libya. A few days after, the IUVENTA crew liberated themselves from a seven-year long odyssey of criminalization, after the court finally had to drop all charges. Celebrated as a public holiday in Italy, the 25th of April marks the day in 1945 when a call was launched on nationwide radio broadcast for a popular uprising and general strike against the Nazi occupation and Fascist regime in Italy.At the same time, still and again, rescue ships continue to be detained and blocked by the Italian post-fascist government, while the EU strives to tighten the externalization of its brutal border regime. During the last weeks, billion euro deals with Egypt and with Lebanon have been initiated to control and to deter migration movements… For liberation of all, the struggles continue!


ECHOES #11 – NO BORDERS, NO PROBLEM

March 2024

Detaining Civil Fleet ships means letting more people die at sea ….  Italian courts are apparently asserting their independence. For Albania or the Iuventa crew, in Catania or in Brindisi, on a legal level, Meloni, Piantedosi & co. have suffered severe setbacks in recent weeks. At the same time, Italian authorities continue to misuse administrative measures to detain rescue ships in even more arbitrary ways. They know they will lose again on a legal level, but they try to win, or, better formulated, to “weaponize” time: to let more people on the move drown or get pushbacked as a policy of deterrence. It is therefore all the more important that solidarity with and between the civil fleet actors remains strong!


ECHOES #10 – BORDERS IN MOTION

January 2024

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2023, a year marked by a large increase in sea arrivals in comparison to the year before, and not only on the Central Mediterranean route. 2023, a year of intensified attempts by the EU to expand border control in collaboration with its autocratic partners in North Africa. 2023, another year of even tougher racist agitation and deprivation of rights all throughout Europe and beyond. Borders have been challenged and have shifted on various levels and directions this past year. It is not difficult to predict that this conflict will continue and possibly escalate in 2024. As Civil MRCC, we promise to stay at the side of refugees and migrants and in solidarity with their daily struggles to practice freedom of movement and find a safer and better life.


ECHOES #9 – NEVER FORGET, NEVER FORGIVE

November 2023

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On 11th of October 2023 an impressive commemorAction took place near the port of Lampedusa to remember the victims of the big shipwrecks ten years ago and at the same time to point out the responsibility of the European border regime in the ongoing death at sea that continues to this day. According to IOM figures, in 2023 another 2480 people died adding to the 17,000 deaths and disappearances recorded by MMP since 2014. As safe passage was denied to people on the move, they were killed by a racist policy of migration control, determent, and externalization. We will never forget and never forgive those state border crimes while we continue our support for and our solidarity with all people on the move.


ECHOES #8 – STRUGGLES FOR FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

September 2023

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With 112 landings and more than 5000 people on the move reaching Lampedusa in one single day, the 12th of September 2023 marked a new level of breaking through the Central Mediterranean borders. While we have already highlighted the tenacity of refugees and migrants in our last issues with reports and pictures from the last months, in September the dynamics reached another peak
point. It remembers – not in its dimension but in its moments and spirit – the summer of migration in the Aegean Sea and on the Balkan route in 2015: a volatile situation of, on the one hand, humanitarian crises, border violence, and deaths at sea, and on the other hand, the powerful struggle for freedom of movement with thousands of people overcoming the violent and racist border regime.


ECHOES #7 – MOVING ON

July 2023

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While the situation in Libya did not improve, the conditions for refugees and migrants in Tunisia continuously worsened during the last few months. Against this background, more than 75.000 people made it to Italian shores until the middle of July 2023. On the 29th of June, a record number of 46 boats reached Lampedusa in a single day, mainly coming from Sfax. The arrival of so many people on the island forced the Italian government to accelerate the transfer process to the mainland. Thousands of people on the move find themselves in a chaotic transit situation in southern Italy. Right when they were just able to overcome one of the deadliest border areas in the world, they are confronted with the attempts of the government to maintain control and filter out people for detention and deportation. Solidarity at sea and on land is needed to resist the racist selection and deterrence policies!


ECHOES #6 – A HIGHLY CONTESTED SPACE

May 2023

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While the welcoming of refugees from Ukraine demonstrates that another approach with free movement and free choice is always possible, the racist policy of externalising and brutalising the European border regime in the south blatantly continues. At the same time, an increasing number of boats reached close to Italian shores without any support, an expression of a contested space in which the autonomies of migration remain constantly alive. Despite and against the post-fascist Meloni government, which is backed up by EU-policies, money and Frontex operations, people exercise their right to move against all risks, obstacles and state-led border crimes. Italian Coast Guard units are forced to coordinate rescues in international waters, while the civil fleet appears with even more rescue ships than last year. We have to expect a „hot“ summer – beyond the climate crisis – and the future is unwritten. In any case, the struggle to abolish the inhuman borders will continue.


ECHOES #5 – NO ONE IS ILLEGAL!

March 2023

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Abandoning people at sea as daily practice and policy in Malta. Repression of the Italian government against the civil fleet, while a shipwreck at the coast of Calabria was not prevented and another one was intentionally provoked in international sea. An escalation of racism and violence against black people promoted by the Tunisian president. In three main articles, we try to cover and to contextualize the horrific recent developments in the Central Mediterranean region. We do it with the promise, never to accept the death at sea, the murderous EU border regime and its externalisation attempts to North-African countries. We will go on to fight for safe passage and an open Mediterranean space, in and from both sides of the coast. Solidarity will win, no one is illegal!


ECHOES #4 – STRUGGLES ALONG THE TUNISIAN ROUTE

January 2023

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Early in January 2023, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation, Antonio Tajani, announced that he will go “soon” to visit Tunisia to ask the Tunisian authorities for a stronger commitment to combat the “irregular departures” of migrants and to encourage a greater number of repatriations. Shortly before, the EU Council adopted an action plan proposed by the Commission to further increase controls in the central Mediterranean. Alongside Egypt and Libya, Tunisia is targeted to “develop jointly targeted actions to prevent irregular departures, support more effective border and migration management, and reinforce search and rescue capacities”. While Tunisia has seen an increase in departures from its coastline in recent months, it is increasingly the target of European countries’ border externalization policies and controls are being tightened along the route to Italy. While this route is still not well known by civil SAR actors, the CMRCC proposes to dedicate this 4th issue of Echoes to developments and struggles along the Tunisian route.


ECHOES #3 – AGAINST FASCISM AND RACISM, SOLIDARITY WILL WIN!

November 2022

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At the end of September 2022, the arrival in power in Italy of a post-fascist party has reinforced a discourse of hatred, promoting racism and closed borders. As more pronounced attacks against civil sea rescue NGOs already begin to take place, it is clear that civil society will feature as one of the targets of the new government. We, as Civil MRCC repeat loud and clear: against fascism, solidarity will win! We will continue to fight together and with people on the move for an open Mediterranean! In “Echoes“, the bimonthly publication of the CMRCC, significant aspects of SAR in the Central Med are reflected upon, current topics discussed, analysis and research presented and the self-organized struggles of refugees and migrants highlighted.


ECHOES #2 – MISSING AT THE EU BORDER

September 2022

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CommemorAction – a verbal combination of mourning and anger – developed by relatives, survivors and supporters as an outcry to the ongoing racist murder at the borders. In reference to the transnational days of CommemorAction in the beginning of September in Zarzis/Tunisia, we dedicate this 2nd issue of Echoes to the people missing and drowned at sea. Not without emphasizing once again, however, at the beginning – that death at sea (as more generally the continuing death and suffering at the borders) is nothing natural and inevitable, but rather takes place as the result of the EU visa and border regime which has been built up over the past decades. This can change! The Ukrainian war shows that when there is a political will to welcome refugees, there is also a way. Open borders and safe passage made possible through trains, ferries and flights – what better way to immediately stop the death at the borders? We as the Civil MRCC stand for an open Mediterranean region, as a necessary and crucial step towards a fairer world.


ECHOES #1 – IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE

July 2022

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Civil Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (CMRCC): this is not a future idea or a long-term vision. No, it is already a daily practice! Since the end of Mare Nostrum, the Maltese and Italian MRCCs and Coast Guards became more and more dysfunctional for persons in distress, who had departed from Libya or Tunisia. The people on the move regularly experience non-assistance or even pushbacks as consequences of European racist migration policies. Civil fleet actors had to fulfill the gap left by authorities in the international areas of Libyan and Maltese search and rescue zones. The Alarm Phone hotline, which is working 24/7, found itself more and more often in a role ascommunication center for rescue coordination.