The Ocean Viking rescued a total of 373 migrants with inflatable boats off the coast of Libya – many of them unaccompanied minors. The auxiliary ship was looking for a safe haven and has now found it.
Rome (dpa) – The aid ship “Ocean Viking” is allowed to bring more than 370 boat migrants rescued from distress at sea to Augusta in Sicily. The operator organization SOS Mediterranee announced this on Sunday evening.
Italy had sent the crew to port at Syracuse. According to the information, a heavily pregnant woman had already flown to the island of Lampedusa by the Italian authorities. After that, there were 373 people on board who had been rescued from Libya with 4 rubber boats in recent days. The crew had returned to Malta and Italy with a request for admission. Arrival is expected on Monday.
The majority of the rescued people come from Guinea, Mali, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Sudan and Sierra Leone. Among them are 131 unaccompanied minors, SOS Mediterranee reports.
A spokeswoman for the UN migration agency IOM, Safa Msehli, tweeted Sunday that at least 80 people have been killed in the central Mediterranean since the beginning of the year. Recently, about 17 boat migrants drowned and dozens of survivors were returned to Libya on Sunday.
After a long pause, the “Ocean Viking” set sail from the French port of Marseille to the central Mediterranean on January 11. A civil war has been raging in Libya for nearly a decade. The country has become one of the most important transit areas for migrants on their way to Europe.
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