A boy has been evacuated from a migrant rescue ship after he received severe fuel burns. More than 200 migrants remain on the Sea-Watch 4 stranded off Sicily.
The Italian coast guard on Wednesday evacuated an injured boy from the Sea-Watch 4, a rescue ship off the Sicilian coast. The boy was suffering from severe fuel burns caused by a mix of salt water and engine fuel.
⭕ A teenage boy was just evacuated from the #SeaWatch4 by Italy's @guardiacostiera. He suffers from extensive fuel burns and was treated by the #MSF team on board but needed to be transferred to a hospital on land. Meanwhile, we're still waiting to be assigned a safe port. pic.twitter.com/EurRPm9Vtj— Sea-Watch International (@seawatch_intl) August 26, 2020
The boy was taken to hospital after medical staff on board the Sea-Watch 4 said “the severity of his condition exceeded capacity of emergency facilities on board,” according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
More than 200 migrants as well as the crew remain on board the Sea-Watch 4 as the ship waits for permission to be assigned to a safe port. Both Italy and Malta have refused it entry.
The ship rescued the migrants in three separate operations on August 22, 23 and 24 from waters off the Libyan coast.
Mounting health risks
The Sea-Watch 4, operated by Sea-Watch International and MSF, set out on its first rescue mission in the Mediterranean in mid-August. There are two nurses, a midwife and a doctor on board.
Barbara Deck, MSF Medical Project Coordinator, said that over 90 of those rescued had been given emergency showers for exposure to the fuel used to power the engine. “(This) generates noxious fumes and is highly corrosive when mixed with salt water,” said Deck.
On Wednesday, the MSF medical team was continuing to monitor for the development of burns as well as following up with more than 30 people who had acute hypothermia.
“The longer people are left at sea without access to food, water or shelter, the higher the risk of significant health complications,” said Deck.