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The decision by EU member states to cut funding to help illegal immigrants crossing the sea into EU waters is impacting commercial shipping. Some 600 ships in the Mediterranean were called on last year to help rescue immigrant ships in trouble, while the latest trend, to put immigrants on the water in unseaworthy vessels, could add to the challenges for commercial shipping. Companies are concerned at risks and delays, but under international maritime law, all vessels are required to provide assistance to those in distress. One manager at a tanker company said: “Taking several hundred people on a tanker is hugely risky.”

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