Migration

Ocean Viking ship rescues more than 500 migrants in the Mediterranean

Published : July 06, 2021 18:05 IST

On board the "Ocean Viking". Photo: Hippolyte/SOS Mediterranee/picture alliance

The aid agency SOS Mediterranee says it has saved a total of 572 people in the Mediterranean Sea in recent days. Those rescued include more than 100 children, the vast majority of them unaccompanied.

The nongovernmental organization SOS Mediterranee said on Twitter on July 5 that it had rescued a total of 572 individuals at sea in recent days.

The most recent rescue involved a "large wooden boat" carrying 369 refugees off the coast of Libya.

During a five-hour rescue mission "with a boat at high risk of capsizing at all times," 110 minors, including an infant and two other children, were among those brought on board the Ocean Viking rescue ship.

Those brought on board came from Egypt, Bangladesh, Eritrea and other nations.

6 rescue missions involving hundreds in recent days

SOS Mediterranee has undertaken six rescue missions in the Mediterranean in recent days.

Earlier, the Ocean Viking picked up 71 people off the coast of Malta in an overloaded wooden boat. Those on board had been at sea for three days, setting sail from the coast of Libya.

Four required stretchers due to their weakened state.

A spokeswoman for SOS Mediterranee told the DPA news agency the ship is "quite full."

Where will intercepted migrants on board be taken?

SOS Mediterranee typically requests that Italian and Maltese authorities permit the Ocean Viking to dock at port so that rescued individuals may be brought ashore.

In Italy, this can sometimes be politically controversial.

The United Nations Refugee Agency also announced Libya's Coast Guard had intercepted 250 people attempting the journey off the coast of Libya, and brought them back to the country.

NGOs are critical of this practice as it puts those individuals at risk of violence.

How dangerous is crossing the Mediterranean this way?

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports the deaths of 866 migrants since the start of this year. Last year, the IOM said the death toll was more than 1,200.

UN figures say 720 have died in the central Mediterranean this year.

Among experts, it is widely believed that there are far more deaths than those counted or known.

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