The Ocean Viking crew come to the assistance of 92 migrants in distress off the Libyan coast on January 24 | Photo: SOS Méditerranée
The Ocean Viking crew come to the assistance of 92 migrants in distress off the Libyan coast on January 24 | Photo: SOS Méditerranée

On Thursday night, the Ocean Viking rescued 92 migrants, including pregnant women and children off the Libyan coast. Those rescued were "extremely weak and soaked in petrol" said the rescue team.

The humanitarian ship, Ocean Viking, run jointly by organizations SOS Méditerranée and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has rescued more migrants off Libya. This time Ocean Viking picked up 92 migrants "aboard an inflatable dinghy about 30 nautical miles off the coast of Libya" on Thursday night, stated an SOS Méditerranée tweet on Friday morning.

Those aboard were "extremely weak and soaked in petrol," the NGO said, adding that many of them were "suffering from hypothermia and seasickness."

Frédéric Penard, director of operations with SOS Méditerranée, told the news agency AFP that "the boat they were on was in the process of deflating, it doesn't bear thinking about what could have happened if we had not found them so quickly."

Most of the people rescued hail originally from West Africa. There were five pregnant women onboard, two children under five and 32 unaccompanied minors.

The migrants had alerted the organization Alarm Phone during the night, which in turn had alerted the authorities and the team aboard the Ocean Viking.

Penard hopes that "they will be quickly granted a safe port, because although the team can deal with the emergencies at sea, it is only once they are on land that we can say the rescue has been completed."

Ocean Viking and the ship Alan Kurdi from the private rescue organization Sea-Eye are the only rescue ships currently operating in the Mediterranean. The Spanish non-governmental organizations PROEM-AID and SMH are hoping to relaunch their ship l’Aita Mari next week.

The organization Sea-Eye tweeted on January 22 that "high seas are making search activities very difficult."

This article was translated from the French original by Emma Wallis

 

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