The Italian Search and Rescue operation - Mare Nostrum - which has been in existence since October 2013 - is likely to cease at the end of 2014, mainly due to costs. It has saved over 130,000 people. In the first nine months of 2014 more than 2500 people have drowned trying to reach Europe.
Amnesty International is calling for a properly resourced and mandated search and rescue operation to be mounted by all the EU countries and not Italy alone. It is also is demanding that safe and legal routes to Europe are opened for refugees and asuylum-seekers and that EU leaders honour their shared responsibility to protect life and stop people drowning at sea.