Massimo, one of SOS MEDITERRANEE’ Search and Rescue team members, spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve working on board the Ocean Viking looking for potential boats in distress in international waters off Libya. We asked him what he wished for in 2020.
1/ Can you introduce yourself and your main position on board the Ocean Viking?
My name is Massimo, I am Italian. I come from Venice. I have been on board the Aquarius in May 2018 and I came back for a second mission with SOS MEDITERRANEE for the 5th rotation of the Ocean Viking. In this mission, I am part of the deck team. When rescue operations are launched, I first help the deck leader in the preparation of all devices potentially needed during the operation: mostly ensuring that mass flotation devices (bananas, rafts, additional lifejackets) can be and are provided to the teams on scene as fast as possible. At the same time, I mainly stand near the boat landing, in order to help the crew to get onboard the fast rescue boats and to welcome rescued people onboard the Ocean Viking.
2/ What are your wishes for 2020?
My profound wish is that the situation in countries of origin and in Libya improve enough so that people escaping from their realities will not have to migrate under such desperate conditions anymore. Unfortunately, I am not seeing this happening, in the months or the year to come at least. It is frightening to see that more and more countries are getting involved in the Libyan war. So, while waiting for the world to become a better place for all, I wish I will be able to continue working on board the Ocean Viking as long as our presence will be needed in the Central Mediterranean. After 12 years on a merchant ship, it is the best mission I have fulfilled.
3/ What message would you like to pass on to SOS MEDITERRANEE’s supporters?
I want to tell all our supporters that we are deeply grateful for them being involved by our side. Without them, we could not be able to operate; nothing that we do would exist. So, my main message would be a big thank you. And I would also like to add how important it is for us that they continue to support us for as long as they can. Unfortunately, it appears that we will be very much needed this year again in this area of the world. In our field of operation, we can, all together, participate in making a small change to this world.
Photo and interview by Laurence Bondard/SOS MEDITERRANEE.