Refugees: “Ocean Viking” a ship to their rescue

“Ocean Viking” is a new ship to help refugees in the Mediterranean Association S.O.S Méditerranée

Back at sea with a bigger and faster boat, the association hopes to be on area in the Mediterranean to “save lives” by next week.

This is the big return of SOS Méditerranée and Médecins sans frontières (MSF) at sea. Seven months after the end of the Aquarius missions, a new, smaller and therefore faster and more easily manoeuvrable ship, flying the Norwegian flag, will split the Mediterranean Sea in order to save lives.

According to SOS Méditerranée and MSF, there is only one – if any – ship currently operating in this sea, while at least 426 people have lost their lives since the beginning of the year. Just this Friday, 62 bodies were recovered off Khoms in Libya.

The Ocean Viking can accommodate “200 to 300 castaways” and “even more for a longer period”. It has nine crew members, ten members of SOS Méditerranée and MSF, including a doctor, two nurses and a midwife – a total of at least 30 people on board.

Under Norwegian flag, «Ocean Viking» is already “in the Mediterranean to launch a new search and rescue campaign, announced Sunday an NGO SOS Méditerranée emphasizing that no one will be send back in Libya.

“We return to the sea because people are dying there and human suffering is enormous,” said Joan Liu, president of MSF, who said that states are applying a “lethal logic” seeking to remove rescuers and suggesting “solutions” such as the “drowning” of refugees or the return to Libya.

Since the beginning of the year, at least 426 people have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration. The last known shipwreck, near Tunisia, killed more than 60 people.

For Every day at sea “Ocean Viking” costs 14,000 euros, so the Mediterranean SOS calls for “necessary” donations to support “this citizen boat”.

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