Italy: migrants in psychological distress on board the Ocean Viking

The ship "Ocean Viking" docked at the port of Marseille on July 29, 2019. CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP

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A state of emergency was declared on board the Ocean Viking on Friday. The ship is currently awaiting instructions off Sicily, Italy.


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Last week, the SOS Mediterranean sea rescue boat carried out four rescues of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb and South Asia. The Ocean Viking has been waiting for a landing port for more than a week, with 180 people on board. Among them, unaccompanied minors and a pregnant woman. Migrants who are in a situation of extreme psychological distress, explains Fabienne Lassalle, deputy director of SOS Mediterranean. She was reached on the phone by Kpénahi Traoré .

 The situation has been getting worse for two days. These people who have already experienced the horror in Libya, which they fled, then at sea during this senseless crossing attempt, are in a state, on board, which is very dangerous. They are in a state of acute psychological and physical distress. And because of this, they have behaviors that can be deemed irrational. There are people who threw themselves into the sea yesterday, and which we were fortunately able to recover. Another man attempted suicide. Many of them become both dangerous to themselves and dangerous to others, including teams. We are more than concerned, and we absolutely need to be granted a port to disembark these people as soon as possible.  "

SOS Mediterranean had already requested Malta, which issued an unfavorable opinion. A new appeal was launched this Friday to the Maltese maritime authorities, without response for the moment.

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  • Immigration
  • International Migration
  • Italy
  • Malta

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