Mediterranean another rescue for the Ocean Viking, 356 migrants on board

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The humanitarian vessel Ocean Viking rescued an additional 105 migrants in international waters off Libya on Monday, and now has 356 people searching for a safe port to land.

At the same time, more than 150 migrants were stranded, some for more than 10 days, on the Spanish Open Arms ship off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The blue rubber canoe was spotted in the day about 40 nautical miles from the Libyan coast, thanks to the permanent watch set up on the upper deck of the ship chartered by SOS Mediterranean and Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

On board were 105 men and adolescents, mostly Sudanese as in the two previous relief operations, including 29 minors, including two children of about 5 and 12 years.

Monday’s operation was more complicated than the previous ones: when the lifeguard zodiacs arrived at its height, the boat had begun to deflate and more than half a dozen people fell into the water, but all are safe and sound.

The Ocean Viking is equipped to accommodate between 200 and 250 people in good conditions in containers on the deck, but it still has the capacity to collect new migrants if the situation requires, say the two NGOs.

The big red boat remained off the coast of Libya, especially since another canoe, which left at the same time as the one rescued on Monday, had been reported.

The weather conditions are currently favorable for departures and it is possible that the great Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha influences the vigilance of the Libyan coastguard.

The Maltese authorities, contacted by the Ocean Viking before Monday’s rescue, refused to welcome the migrants on board, believing that they were only required to do so in the case of operations conducted in its area. help.

All migrants from the Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking have been rescued from Libya’s vast area, but according to operations coordinator Nicholas Romaniuk, attempts to contact the Libyan coastguard have been in vain. since five days.

In Rome, the Italian Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, repeated “the absolute prohibition for these two foreign ships to enter Italian waters.Open the ports of France, Spain or Norway.”

It has happened in the past that Tripoli proposes a Libyan landing port, to which the NGOs refuse because of the abuses and violence which the migrants are likely to find there.

Some of the migrants from the Open Arms were rescued in the Maltese area, and the Maltese Navy offered to drive them to Valletta, but the NGO refused, explaining fearing desperate acts on the part of those forced to stay on board at the time of transfer.

The founder of the Spanish NGO, Oscar Camps, however, denounced the refusal of both Malta and Italy to allow the Open Arms to shelter near its shores, while “2.2-meter dips are planned for Wednesday afternoon”.

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