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Chinese companies openly offer "refugee boats"

Thursday, August 24th, 2017 | World News

The inflatable boats, which take refugees across the Mediterranean to Europe, often come from Chinese companies. Some manufacturers do not even try to conceal this purpose.

EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told the newspaper "The World" that "a certain number of inflatable boats used by the smugglers are produced by companies active in China." According to information from the newspaper, the boats are offered there on online platforms like "Alibaba" as "high quality refugee boats".

Avramopoulos demanded more use of China in the fight against the "human smuggling in the Mediterranean". The EU authorities are already working to get a "better picture of the trade flows of these inflatable boats", the EU Commissioner said.

  In truth, only "inflatable rubber boats"
Annemarie Loof from the relief organization Doctors Without Borders called it "irresponsible that these inflatable rubber boats are currently being advertised as quality refugee boats". However, selling these boats is only the symptom of a major problem. "It is that there are no safe and legal channels for people seeking a safer and better life," Loof told the "world."

In order to make it more difficult for the tugs, the EU Foreign Ministers agreed in July to limit the export of rubber dinghies and outboard motors to Libya. The unstable Libya is the main transit country for refugees who mostly try to get to Europe via the Mediterranean by means of tugboats. According to UN figures, more than 2300 people have died in the attempt to cross the river since the beginning of the year.


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