The "Ocean Viking" rescue ship has pulled 36 people from an overcrowded wooden boat in the Mediterranean Sea. Maltese authorities had requested the charity chip to save the shipwrecked migrants.
The migrants were taken aboard the Ocean Viking in international waters some 240 kilometers away from Malta and 28 kilometers from the Italian island of Lampedusa. Though these waters are patrolled by the Maltese coastguard, Malta requested the help of the private rescue vessel, which is run by the two nonprofit groups SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
According to initial reports on the Associated Press, there were women and children among the rescued migrants Thursday evening. Many of them said they were Algerian and Libyan citizens.
Ocean Viking at capacity
The Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking picked up another 182 migrants from unseaworthy boats earlier this week north of Libya.
It now carries 218 passengers who were rescued at sea, looking for safe harbor. As EU countries are still only redistributing migrants arriving in Mediterranean ports on an ad-hoc basis, it might take several days until either Malta or Italy accepts the boat.with AP