Migrants rescued by Ocean Viking in its first search and rescue operation


Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

People on a rubber boat in distress in international waters off the coast of Libya have been rescued on Friday morning by Ocean Viking.

The new migrant rescue vessel jointly operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), set sail only a few days back. The vessel was recently refused a scheduled refueling in Malta.

In a tweet, Doctors Without Borders announced the rescue, saying that “all are safe on board”.

The Norwegian-flagged vessel ‘Ocean Viking’ left from the port of Marseille on the southern coast of France on August, 4.

According to the NGOs, the vessel was formerly built to rescue oil workers from oil rigs. It is built with a capacity to accommodate 200 people, holds four RHIB boats for SAR operations and will operate a full medical staff provided by MSF.

On Thursday MSF and SOS Mediterranee have said that they have been prevented from making a refueling stop of the Ocean Viking vessel within Maltese territorial waters. MSF alleged that the reason given by the Maltese authorities for the refusal of the ‘pre-arranged refueling stop’ was ‘due to the nature of our search and rescue operations.’

READ: MSF and SOS Mediterranee restart SAR operations

121 asylum seekers remain stranded

Meanwhile 121 migrants remain in limbo on board Spanish-flagged rescue vessel Open Arms. On Thursday newly elected European Parliament President David Sassoli has written to the European Commission to take immediate action so that the suffering of those on board is ended at once.

READ: EP president urges immediate assistance to migrants stranded on Open Arms

The crew on board the vessel operated by the Spanish civil search and rescue NGO Proactiva Open Arms, rescued 53 adults and two babies from a small boat last Thursday. Later on in the night they rescued another 69 people. On Saturday, two heavily pregnant women were evacuated from onboard the vessel.

Read: Spanish NGO boat seeks safe port for 124 people rescued in Mediterranean