The briefing will also be broadcast as a live webcast at: www.facebook.com/HelsinkiCommission.
Ships on the Mediterranean Sea have rescued 117,000 refugees and migrants bound for Europe so far in 2017, and many more since the crisis first reached the continent in 2015. In the past two years, 12,000 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing.
Many of the sea rescues have been conducted by coast guard and naval ships from frontline European countries; the European Union's Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex); and EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia.
Merchant ships have also played an important role in the rescue of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. According to the International Chamber of Shipping, merchant ships have rescued 41,300 of them since 2015.
This briefing will examine how rescue operations work; what ships are obligated to do when they become aware of a vessel in distress; issues of human trafficking and smuggling; and how well governments, shipping companies, and international organisations coordinate and collaborate with each other on sea rescues.
Other issues to be discussed are the major challenges that currently exist for navies, coast guards, and merchant ships involved in rescue operations; and recommendations to address these challenges.
The panelists are: Embassy of Italy to the US, Minister Counsellor Catherine Flumiani; Embassy of Greece to the US, First Secretary and Consul Michalis Stamatis; European Union Delegation to the US, Political and Military Counsellor Ludwig Blaurock; International Chamber of Shipping marine director John Murray; and International Organization for Migration deputy director general Laura Thompson.