The Alan Kurdi humantarian rescue ship off Libya | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa
The Alan Kurdi humantarian rescue ship off Libya | Photo: Picture-alliance/dpa

The two rescue ships Alan Kurdi and Ocean Viking were assigned a safe harbor at the Italian port of Pozzallo in Sicily. The nearly 200 migrants will be distributed to France, Germany and Italy, according to the private rescue organization SOS Mediterranee. A pregnant woman had been evacuated over the weekend, and one man remains missing since the Alan Kurdi rescued 91 migrants on Saturday.

104 migrants on board the Ocean Viking will be taken to the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, the French aid organization SOS Mediterranee reported on Tuesday. The permission by the Italian authorities comes 11 days after the Ocean Viking had rescued the migrants from a rubber dinghy off Libya on October 18. 

The German-run ship Alan Kurdi has also received the green light for disembarkation of the 90 migrants it had taken on board Saturday. The Alan Kurdi will also head to the port of Pozzallo.

Threatened by Libyan authorities

The ship Alan Kurdi made the news after reporting that it had been “blocked and threatened by Libyan forces” during its rescue of 90 people on Saturday.

The organization reported that shots were fired into the air and the water during the rescueand later one young man reported that his brother was missing. It is not yet clear whether he drowned during the rescue or was taken by the Libyan authorities. The organization stated on October 26: “We urgently call on all European states and the #EU to quickly provide a safe port for the traumatized and exhausted people.”

One pregnant woman evacuated

On Sunday 27, a Nigerian woman called Faith, who the organization reported is four months pregnant, was taken off the Alan Kurdi. The organization said they “feared for her unborn baby,” the German news agency EPD (Protestant Press Agency) reported that she was “bleeding.” It has not yet been reported what has happened to Faith and her unborn baby since.

Sea Eye had since then tweeted repeatedly that things are difficult on board, especially after the ship was hit by bad weather and that they urgently need a safe port.

Among the 104 migrants on board the Ocean Viking rescued on October 18 are “two babies, six young kids, eight teenage girls and 10 women.”

The NGOs that operate the Ocean Viking too had stated that “it is truly outrageous that European governments would think it’s ok to leave these vulnerable people stranded at sea for over a week.”  The Spanish private rescue Organization Open Arms reported that it also rescued 44 migrants at sea over the weekend. They did however receive a safe haven in Malta within 24 hours.

'Left in limbo'

Louise Guillaumat the deputy director of SOS Méditerranée operations had released a press release on Monday. In it, she had called on a “broad coalition of European states to urgently facilitate the assignment of a port to the Ocean Viking and to finally put in place a predictable and coordinated disembarkation mechanism as discussed in Luxembourg earlier this month.”

She said that the “104 survivors are once again left in limbo on the deck of a rescue ship with no solution for their disembarkation in sight.” On board the Ocean Viking, she said there were 41 children, the vast majority, 76%, “minors reported to be traveling unaccompanied, without a parent or guardian.”

MSF head of Mission Michael Fark added that “every patient seen in the MSF clinic so far has reported to have suffered or been witness to violence or sexual violence at some point in their journey.


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