A U.S. Navy destroyer is underway in the Mediterranean, headed eastward to be in position for missile strikes against a recently discovered chemical weapons cache that belongs to a rogue Middle Eastern regime. As the ship makes best speed for its intended sector, however, it comes across a stunning scene: a flimsy and overloaded migrant boat that has capsized, spilling more than 100 people into the sea. Those in the water, including children, have no lifejackets, no lights or emergency position-indicating radio beacons, and little ability or stamina to swim. The Navy ship stops, drops small boats, and recovers as many people as possible, bringing them on board and providing food and aid. The smugglers are detained. Calls are made to local forces, asking them to take the survivors so that the destroyer can return to its mission. But Italy and Malta, the two closest countries, refuse to send ships for fear they will be obliged to take the refugees.
Search-and-Rescue in the Age of Weaponized Migration
Commander Kevin Duffy, U.S. Coast Guard