After several days of waiting, the Ocean Viking authorized to disembark its 572 survivors in Sicily

According to the NGO SOS Méditerranée, the humanitarian ship Ocean Viking has received authorization to dock in the port of Augusta in Sicily. It is a relief for the 572 castaways on board who had been patient for several days at sea awaiting a safe port.

After several days of waiting, the Ocean Viking finally received permission to disembark its 572 castaways. The humanitarian ship of SOS Mediterranean will be able to dock at the port of Augusta, in Sicily, announced the NGO Thursday, July 8 in the evening.

“It’s a huge relief”, we can read on the Twitter account of the NGO based in Marseille (south of France).

Since its last rescue, on the night of Sunday 4 to Monday 5 July, SOS Méditerranée had launched several appeals to the European Union to find a safe port and to disembark the migrants collected on board the Ocean Viking “as quickly as possible” .

>> To (re) read: What happens to the migrants, rescued at sea, who arrive in Italy?

The NGO was alarmed at the exhaustion of prepackaged food rations and medicines, as well as the state of health of some passengers, exhausted and dehydrated after three days spent at sea in the sun before their rescue.

Survivors at their wit’s end

“The situation is deteriorating from hour to hour. The medical team is reporting more and more cases of psychological distress”, among the exiles, including women, children and a four-month-old baby, she warned Thursday, some hours before getting the green light from Rome to reach Sicily.

On Wednesday, a survivor even jumped into the water, tired of not knowing when it will be able to touch dry land. The young man was picked up by the crew and brought back to the aid ship.

As of Friday July 9, there are no humanitarian ships off the Libyan coast. Most of the rescue boats active in the central Mediterranean are blocked by the Italian authorities for administrative reasons. The most recent is the Geo Barents of Médecins sans frontières (MSF), immobilized in Sicily on July 2, after having disembarked in mid-June more than 400 migrants rescued off Libya.

>> To (re) read: Off Lampedusa, Libyan coast guard fires live ammunition at boat

Since the start of the year, 898 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, including 734 on the central route to Malta and Italy, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM ).

SOS Méditerranée claims to have rescued more than 30,000 people at sea since February 2016, first with the Aquarius, then the Ocean Viking.

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