Rescue report (18-30 October 2019): twelve days after being rescued, 104 people went ashore in Pozzallo


In the morning of October 18, the teams of SOS MEDITERRANEE and Doctors without Borders (MSF) rescued 104 people from a rubber dinghy. The Libyan authorities have assigned Tripoli as a Place of Safety to disembark the rescued. That was rejected with reference to international law. On the evening of 20 October, the Ocean Viking requested assistance from the Italian and Maltese Rescue Coordination Centres in assigning a safe place for the 104 people to go ashore as quickly as possible. On October 30 – twelve days after the rescue – the rescued disembarked from the Ocean Viking in Pozzallo, Italy.


October 16, 2019: After 176 rescued on board the Ocean Viking disembarked safely at Taranto, Italy, in the morning, teams head back to the Libyan search-and-rescue-region at 3 p.m.

October 18, 2019: The Ocean Viking reaches the Libyan search-and-rescue-zone at 5 a.m. and informs the Libyan authorities of its readiness. Shortly after 9 a.m., SOS MEDITERRANEE’s rescue team spotted a black rubber dinghy in distress about 50 nautical miles off the Libyan coast. The team immediately initiated the rescue. At 11:40 a.m. all 104 people were safely on board the Ocean Viking; among them two pregnant women and 41 minors.

October 20, 2019: The Ocean Viking has left the Libyan rescue zone and has requested a Place of Safety to the Italian and Maltese Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs), asking them to coordinate with the MRCCs most able to assist in order to facilitate disembarkation as early as possible. Previously, the Libyan Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) appointed the port of Tripoli as a Place of Safety on Friday, 18 October, which was declined by the Ocean Viking: No port in Libya can be considered safe according to international law.

October 22, 2019: Until now, no Place of Safety has been assigned.

October 28, 2019: Ten days after being rescued from a rubber dinghy, the rescued still remain blocked onboard the Ocean Viking – the ship still has not been assigned a Place of Safety. Due to weather conditions, some people suffer from seasickness.

October 29, 2019: Today, Pozzallo (Italy) was assigned as a Place of Safety for the disembarkation of the 104 rescued aboard the Ocean Viking.

October 30, 2019: The Ocean Viking docked in the port of Pozzallo, Italy, where after more than 12 days of uncertainty at sea, all 104 survivors finally disembarked.

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Photo credits: Julia Schaefermeyer / SOS MEDITERRANEE