“There are two shelters aboard the Ocean Viking. Once rescue operations are over and all survivors are on board, we help the men settle into the larger shelter and the women and children into a smaller one, which is entirely dedicated to them.
The teams of SOS MEDITERRANEE and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) have made the choice to create a shelter that is, for all these women and children in distress, a safe haven allowing for peace, calm and safety.
We strive to bring to them the kindness they need after all the difficulties they have gone through. This shelter is the epitome of all that. It is the place where women can confide in someone, where children can play, where they can receive initial care in privacy.
There is a rule on board that says no men can enter the women’s shelter, which we all respect. As a male photographer, I have found myself working as follows: as we get closer to a safe port of disembarkation, following the awaited announcement of such news, some kind excitement and expectancy usually start spreading on deck and in the shelters. Then, in agreement with our medical partner MSF and with the women themselves -after they saw me walking and talking on deck for several days-, I would slowly allow myself to take out my camera, which they would usually accept with open arms. I would then experience this outpouring of joy with them. It is a moment that is as magical as ever. This moment of transition on the water, unreal sometimes, between two continents.”
Text and photo: Anthony Jean / SOS MEDITERRANEE
Anthony Jean joined the team of the Ocean Viking as a photographer during the last mission from February 15th until March 8th. In this picture he captured a moment of joy and hope after a safe place was assigned for the 276 survivors.
For more information about our operations please check out our Twitter account or visit our online logbook.
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular updates about our life-saving work in the central Mediterranean.