NGO ship 'in limbo' for 10 days seeks disembarkation for 104 migrants
October 28 2019 02:05 PM
Ocean Viking
Ocean Viking


A rescue ship which has been at sea for 10 days with 104 migrants should urgently be allowed to disembark them, the two charities running the vessel said on Monday.

The Ocean Viking, operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), intercepted the migrants on October 18 some 90 kilometres off the Libyan coast.

‘104 survivors are once again left in limbo on the deck of a rescue ship with no solution for their disembarkation in sight,’ SOS Mediterranee's Louise Guillaumat said in a statement.

‘We urge European leaders to live up to their principles and allow the survivors to finally disembark to safety,’ MSF head of mission, Michael Fark, added.

According to the two charities, aboard the Ocean Viking there are two pregnant women and 41 minors, including two babies aged 2 and 11 months.

SOS Mediterranee and MSF previously asked to be allowed to dock in Malta or Italy. According to the Marine Traffic website, the Ocean Viking is currently halfway between Lampedusa island and Sicily.

Since last year, Italy and Malta have repeatedly refused to open their ports to migrant rescue vessels unless other EU countries agreed to take in some of the migrants.

Negotiating these burden-sharing arrangements is often difficult, and leaves migrants stranded at sea until a deal is struck. Usually this happens with the help of the European Commission.

In September, Malta, Italy, France and Germany suggested fixed rules for migrant relocations, to speed up procedures, but the proposal has failed to win wider EU endorsement.

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