Altogether, more than 400 migrants are being accommodated on the NGO ships Open Arms and Ocean Viking after a third rescue, near Libya, made by the latter boat. But no solution is in sight for their reception.
The Ocean Viking, which belongs to NGO SOS Mediterranean and MSF (Doctors Without Borders), conducted its third rescue in three days on Sunday, August 11, 2019.
“We have a 24-hour watch and two radars covering the area. This morning it was the presence of a low-level reconnaissance aircraft that alerted us and drove us further north,” says coordinator Nicholas Romaniuk.
On board a blue rubber boat six to seven meters long some 81 young Africans were packed together like sardines. They cheered the sailors rescuers seeing them approaching, taking selfies with their phones, completely unaware of the dangers involved.
Some carried black rubber buoys around the neck, absolutely ineffective, according to the NGO staff.
They are mostly Sudanese, and 81 percent of them are aged between 18 to 34 years. They said they left the Libyan coast on Saturday night. “These boats are hand-made by the smugglers who assemble some pieces of rubber between them. No one would ever get the certification to carry passengers,” the coordinator explained.
While most illegals on the Ocean Viking are Sudanese (two-thirds), the first boat load picked up on Friday carried Senegalese and Ivorians.
On Sunday, the founder of the Open Arms, Oscar Camps, launched a new call for European solidarity: “Tenth day on board, on a hot Sunday of August. We resist, we have 160 reasons to do it. 160 human beings who have the right to disembark in a safe harbor. Shame on you Europe “.
Nine migrants from the Open Arms were able to disembark on Sunday night: eight were taken by helicopter to Malta and one to Lampedusa. They were evacuated for suspicion of tuberculosis, pneumonia and because a 32-year-old woman has brain cancer.
In the meantime, some 30 illegal migrants landed directly on the Italian coast on Sunday: 16 Iranians and Iraqis were intercepted on a sailboat that arrived in Puglia and 13 North Africans on a fishing boat that landed on the Sicilian island of Marettimo.