The Ocean Viking is run by the SOS Mediterranee charity and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) | PHOTO: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Friedel
The Ocean Viking is run by the SOS Mediterranee charity and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) | PHOTO: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Friedel

The private rescue ship, Ocean Viking operated by Doctors without borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee, picked up a further 34 people in the Mediterranean in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The migrants had issued a distress call on Monday and had been picked up first by a small sailing yacht.

“Wonderful news!” tweeted the charity Alarm Phone on Tuesday. Alarm Phone calls itself "hotline support for boat people in distress." It is part of the organization Watch the Med. “The boat that called us yesterday in distress and that was spotted by Moonbird from the air was rescued last night by the Josefa.”

The Josefa, a 14-meter sailing yacht, had picked up the migrants in distress on Monday. According to news agency Associated Press, the Josefa is operated by a small German charity Resqship and sails under a German flag. MSF reported that conditions were deteriorating rapidly and so the 34 people include a pregnant woman and an infant were transferred to the Ocean Viking “after the situation on their 14 meter vessel became one of emergency.”

'What would have happened if they had not been rescued?'

MSF tweeted a video of the transfer, asking “what would have happened to 34 vulnerable people on board a rubber boat, if they had not been spotted by the Moonbird aircraft and rescued by sail boat Josefa before the storm broke?”

The total numbers of rescued migrants on board Ocean Viking is now more than 80. The 34 rescued on Tuesday add to the 50 people picked up between Sunday and Monday.

From that rescue, MSF said they had already carried out an ultrasound scan on one of the pregnant women in their midwife clinic. Mother and baby are doing well, MSF added. A doctor from MSF said the team had detected "signs of physical violence suffered by these people during their time in Libya."

It is unclear in which direction the ship is now headed. On Tuesday lunchtime, the last recorded position was heading eastwards north of the coast of Libya. Neither Malta nor Italy have yet given the ship the go ahead to dock in their ports.

 

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