Ocean Viking: 295 migrants on board after new rescue operations in the Mediterranean
The Ocean Viking ship currently has nearly 300 rescued migrants and refugees on board, following two new operations off the coast of Libya. During this time, the Italian coastguards have rescued around 80 people, and the Geo Barents is still looking for a port to disembark around 100 survivors.
The latest rescue operations carried out by the crew of the Ocean Viking took place in the central Mediterranean on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday morning (April 27), 59 people were rescued from a dinghy in “imminent danger”, according to a tweet shared by SOS Méditerranée, which operates the vessel.
On Tuesday evening (April 26), 72 people were rescued from another dinghy in Libya’s search and rescue region. The crew carried out “a difficult rescue in complete darkness and with waves of up to three metres” and among those rescued were women and children who “were found without life jackets”, SOS tweeted Mediterranean. They also said that “a man collapsed during the evacuation”.
It comes after several rescue operations following the mission’s initial rescue of 70 people from a deflating rubber dinghy on Sunday April 24. Today, 295 migrants and refugees are waiting on board the ship to be assigned a port of disembarkation. About 130 of them are minors, according to SOS Méditerranée.
Italian Coast Guard rescued 80 migrants; Ocean Viking carrying a hundred migrants
The Italian coastguard said on Wednesday it had rescued a group of around 80 migrants from a fishing boat off Sicily a day earlier. A pregnant woman and her companion were reportedly flown by helicopter to Italy due to a medical emergency, while the other survivors were transported by boat to the port of Augusta.
The Ocean Viking is not the only NGO-run ship currently operating in the central Mediterranean, in the waters between northern Libya and southern Italy. The Geo Barents currently has around 100 people on board, following a rescue operation on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Sea-Watch 4 is also currently conducting patrols, but had no migrants on board since Wednesday afternoon.
The central Mediterranean is one of the busiest and most dangerous routes for irregular migration to Europe. A total of 9,600 migrants arrived in Italy by boat in 2022 on Tuesday April 16, according to figures from the Italian Interior Ministry shared by the news agency dpa. At least 547 people have died or gone missing in the central Mediterranean so far this year, according to IOM, the UN migration agency – although the true number could be much higher, as many shipwrecks of boats are never registered.
With dpa, epd