236 in zwei Einsätzen Gerettete gehen im sizilianischen Augusta an Land

Mission report starting April 10 (2021): 236 survivors have disembarked in Augusta, Sicily

Last updated: 1.05.2021 at 18:25 (all times in UTC +1)

Summary

After the Ocean Viking left the port of Augusta, Sicily, on 14 April, the crew trained at sea for two days. To seek shelter from the oncoming bad weather, the rescue ship temporarily moors in Syracuse, Sicily.

Back in the area of operation, the crew receives information about three distress cases on 21 April and started the search. In increasingly rough seas and together with three merchant ships, the search for one of the boats continued the following day – without any coordination maritime authorities. After hours of searching, on 22dn of April, the crew of the Ocean Viking had to witness the devastating aftermath of the shipwreck of a rubber boat.

More information can be found in our recap “Left in the dark” or in our online-logbook.

236 people are rescued from two overcrowded rubber boats on 27th of April.

The next day, on April 28, the crew was informed about two distress cases. While searching, they witnessed an interception by the Libyan coastguard.

On Thursday, April 29, survivors and crew of the Ocean Viking wait for the assignment of a place of safety. One day later, the Ocean Viking is assigned Augusta as a place of safety, where all survivors disembark on 1st of May.

Chronology

1. May 2021: 236 people -half of whom unaccompanied minors- rescued from distress by the Ocean Viking from two rubber dinghies in distress in international waters off Libya, disembark in the port of Augusta, Sicily.

Survivors and crew were tested for COVID-19 by Italian health authorities.

30. April 2021: Augusta, Sicily, is assigned as a place of safety for the disembarkation of 236 children, women and men.

29. April 2021: Onboard Ocean Viking waiting for a Place of Safety to disembark 236 people rescued Tuesday, many survivors -including minors- told our medical team that they were beaten while embarking the flimsy rubber boats as they were hesitant, frightened by the rough sea condition and high waves.

28. April 2021: Early in the morning, alerts to two boats in distress in international waters off Libya were relayed.
While searching, the Ocean Viking witnessed the interception of an overcrowded rubber boat by the Libyan coastguard, requesting us to change course. Soon after, the second boat was intercepted too.

Survivors on board started feeling anxious and worried for these people, some of them recalling being intercepted before.

Forced returns by the Libyan coastguard -supported by the EU- mean that people intercepted don’t reach a Place of Safety. This is against maritime law.

27. April 2021: Today, the crew of the Ocean Viking rescues 236 people from two overcrowded rubber boats in distress in international waters, 32 nautical miles off Zawiyah, Libya. Several survivors were weak, dehydrated & are now recovering. Women suffer mild fuel burns and have inhaled fumes. 114 minors are unaccompanied.

22. April 2021: After hours of search, the crew of the Ocean Viking had to witness the devastating aftermath of the shipwreck of a rubber boat. “We are heartbroken. We think of the lives that have been lost and of the families who might never have certainty as to what happened to their loved ones.”

Read more in our recap “Left in the dark”, in our online-logbook or in a testimony written by Alessandro, member of the search-and-rescue-crew.

22. April 2021: Three distress calls were relayed by Alarm Phone to authorities and Ocean Viking on 21st of April. Our crew searched for one of the boats, along with 3 merchant ships, in increasingly rough sea, with no coordination from maritime authorities.

16. April 2021: After two days of drills at sea, the Ocean Viking has docked in the port of Syracuse, Sicily, to shelter from oncoming bad weather. Two days before, the rescue ship left the port of Augusta after the completion of a 14-day quarantine and crew change.

For more information about our operations please check out our Twitter account or visit our online logbook.

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Photo credits: Flavio Gasperini / SOS MEDITERRANEE