L’Ocean-Viking, an ambulance ship chartered by SOS Méditerranée, has rescued 623 people in distress during fifteen rescues that have occurred in the last thirty-six hours in the south-west of the Italian island of Lampedusa, announced Friday August 11 the humanitarian NGO based in Marseilles. Among these migrants, the NGO has identified 146 unaccompanied minors and fifteen accompanied minors as well as two pregnant women, she told Agence France-Presse.
Part of the survivors were to be disembarked in the evening at Lampedusa and the other at Civitavecchia, northwest of Rome, which the ship should “reach by August 14 or 15”, said the deputy director of operations, Carla Melki. Many of the survivors are from Sudan, a country at war for nearly four months, but also from Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin and Bangladesh.
The central Mediterranean is the most dangerous migration route in the world, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The UN agency estimates that since the start of 2023, 1,848 migrants have disappeared there, compared to 1,417 for the whole of 2022.
L’Ocean-Viking had been held for ten days in July by the Italian authorities, who blamed him for security failures, but he had been authorized to return to sea on July 21.