With the total number of migrants now exceeding 272 million worldwide, International Migrants Day is an important reminder that migration is one of the greatest issues of our era.
With ships being one of the most-used modes of transportation for illegal cross-border journeys, migration poses a pressing issue for industries within the maritime world.
On 18 December 1990, the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention of the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Since then, 132 Member States have worked together to strengthen the governance of international migration, while protecting the rights and lives of the migrants themselves, marked by International Migrants Day.
Migration is now commonly defined as a determination to leave one’s home in search of a better life, however in many situations it results in the challenges of illegal migration. When illegal migration occurs by sea, it is often undertaken by large groups of migrants overwhelming small vessels, or by stowaways boarding and hiding undetected on ships.
Within the past five years there have been over 33,685 migrant fatalities worldwide, though with the majority of migrant deaths going unrecorded, this figure is expected to be even higher.
In many cases these illegal migration attempts require intervention by merchant shipping and governments using coast guard and naval vessels abiding by their legal obligation to rescue persons in distress at sea (as set-out by the SOLAS Convention), but all too often the risks migrants are willing to take leads to loss of life. This year, in the Mediterranean alone, 1 in 10 rescue operations were carried out by small merchant vessels and by 31 October there had been over 1,087 migrant deaths.
While this is a tragic and preventable number, it is not only the migrants who suffer, for experiences like these can be harrowing and psychologically damaging for the seafarers involved. Further, the shipping companies concerned also face consequential impacts, including unexpected costs for damages, delays in ports, and the repatriation of stowaways, which in turn impacts the wider shipping industry.
From a shipping industry perspective, Pole Star can help manage the associated risks by providing governments and commercial vessel operators better maritime visibility.
Our Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) solution provides governments, shipping companies, and related authorised stakeholders with complete situational awareness through the delivery of comprehensive, reliable, and secure actionable intelligence. Our MDA solution delivers multi-source satellite and terrestrial AIS data in addition to private LRIT data (for Governments) or Inmarsat / Iridium data (for shipping companies), allowing users to monitor their ships to facilitate the security, safety, and compliance of vessels and cargo.
Additionally, our small craft tracking solution extends this capability by utilising best in class hybrid technology combining Iridium Satellite tracking with Class-B AIS and an AIS SART distress alert to create an environment of safety and security wherever the vessel may be. The device also floats and is fully waterproof, guaranteeing its durability and ensuring that in the case of an incident, such as found migrants, the necessary rescue authorities can retrieve accurate position data of the smaller rescue vessels involved.
Our Risk Insight optional package incorporates data from Risk Intelligence, providing users with near real-time updates of maritime crime incidents around the world. With data from Risk Intelligence, the leading provider of maritime security and intelligence, users can be assured that they have a full situational overview, ensuring the safety and security of their fleet and seafaring employees.
Read more about Pole Star’s MDA solution here.
Read more about Pole Star's small craft tracking solution here.
Read more about Pole Star’s Risk Insight solution here.