From file: A picture of the Ocean Viking | Photo: ANSA/OCEAN VIKING
From file: A picture of the Ocean Viking | Photo: ANSA/OCEAN VIKING

The Italian coast guard on Tuesday ordered another administrative detention for the migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking.

After over 11 hours of inspection, the migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking, operated by SOS Mediterranee in the Mediterranean Sea, came under administrative detention once more on Tuesday, January 11.

The ship, the NGO said, has been blocked in the Sicilian port of Trapani due to an issue linked to the registration of containers on the deck of the ship, where survivors rescued by the ship are housed and equipment is stored. The containers were allegedly supposed to have been registered in a different manner.

Coast guard claims Ocean Viking non in line with regulations

The Italian coast guard stated that it had found "various irregularities of a technical nature that could compromise the safety of crew and persons brought aboard during the assistance provided."

It added that it had found malfunctioning of the electricity onboard, essential in the case of an emergency at sea, and the presence of flammable liquids stored in unsuitable parts of the ship.

The coast guard added that "the deficiencies found, some of which had been found in previous inspections, showed that the management system for safety onboard was lacking. The ship was thus placed under administrative detention until" the ship is found to be in compliance with all regulations.

'This extreme level of checks saddens us'

"The certification of these facilities as 'cargo' has been brought into question some two and a half years after they were installed in a professional shipyard and certified by all the relevant regulatory bodies," the NGO said, adding that "5,108 people have been rescued from danger at sea since this ship started its operations, and the same number found shelter and safety inside these facilities."

"It saddens us to see this extreme level of checks that our ship continues to be subjected to," said the director of the Italian branch of SOS Mediterranee, Valeria Taurino.

This inspection is reportedly the sixth by Italy since the Ocean Viking started operating in the central Mediterranean in August 2019.

"Now we will talk to our shipyard, with the maritime administrative authorities, and certification agencies to implement the measures and practices that ensure a rapid release of the ship so that it can continue to save lives at sea without further delay," Taurino said.


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