Ocean Viking anchored close to Porto Empedocle, Sizilien. The crew was asked to stay in Quarantine.

Mission report starting on June 22nd, 2020: 14-day quarantine asked for the crew after all 180 survivors disembarked

Summary:

The Ocean Viking took course from Marseille to central Mediterranean on Monday, 22th of June. After four operations, two on Thursday, 25th of June and two on Tuesday, 30th of June, 181 survivors were brought to safety on board the Ocean Viking. One man had be evacuated for medical reasons.

Until now, 180 survivors are still waiting for the assignment of a place of safety. On Friday, 3rd of July, situation on board deterioriated quickly. The mental distress caused by their ordeal in Libya and the current situation is unbearable for many.

After seven requests for a Place of Safety to the relevant maritime authorities within the past week and six suicide attempts by survivors within 24 hours, the Ocean Viking has declared a State of Emergency over the vessel after the situation on board deteriorated to the point that the safety of the 180 survivors and the crew on board can no longer be guaranteed.

On Saturday, the 4th of July, an italian medical team visited for an assessment of the situation on board. After speaking to survivors they left and SOS MEDITERRANEE is urgently awaiting instructions for the disembarkation of the 180 survivors from the competent maritime authorities.

Sunday at midday Italien authorities conducted Covi9-19-tests on board. Despite reports on the transfer of the survivors, Ocean Viking did not receive any official instructions.

Sunday around 5pm – relief on the Ocean Viking as the ship has finally received instructions to proceed to Porto Empedocle, Sicily. 

Monday Ocean Viking remained anchored outside of Porto Empedocle – with no new information regarding the disembarkation of the 180 given since 07:00 am. Only after a full day of standing by, disembarkation of the 180 survivors started around midnight.

The rescued people were walked to passenger ferry Moby Zazà to reportedly start a quarantine. Media report all survivors’ COVID-19 tests were negative.

The Ocean Viking was nevertheless informed a 14-day quarantine was asked for the crew. As per instructions, the ship is now anchored outside the port of Porto Empedocle.

Chronology:

22 June 2020: The Ocean Viking sets sail from Marseille to the central Mediterranean

25 June 2020: 51 people were rescued from a wooden boat in adrift in distress in the Italian & Maltese SAR regions. All of them, including one pregnant woman, are now safely onboard the Ocean Viking. Maritime authorities were informed at all steps and COVID-19 protocols are carefully implemented.

In a second operation in the afternoon 67 people were rescued in the Maltese Search and Rescue region. 118 people are now onboard the Ocean Viking.
All are currently being taken care of by our Care and Medical team. Their health is being thoroughly monitored.

27 June 2020: Teams on board the OceanViking searched for a boat reported in acute distress in international waters off Misrata for 12h. It was intercepted by Libyan coastguard as witnessed by Mediterranea Saving humans. IOM Libya reports: one baby was born on the dinghy, 93 people returned to Libya, six reportedly died.

29 June 2020: OceanViking is in stand-by between Malta and Italy since Sunday morning. So far, we received no answer from maritime authorities to two Place of Safety requests to disembark 118 people rescued on June 25 (1 rescue in the Maltese and Italian SAR Region, 1 in the Maltese SRR).

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A man has been evacuated from the Ocean Viking for medical reasons this evening. He was transferred onboard an Italian coastguard vessel in international waters off Lampedusa. 117 survivors remaining onboard our ship still urgently need to disembark in a Place of Safety.

30 June 2020: SOS MEDITERRANEE teams rescued 47 people from a wooden boat drifting south of Lampedusa in the Maltese Search & Rescue region. According to the first testimonies, the survivors spent 4 to 5 days at sea. All were very dehydrated.

At night, 16 more people were rescued from of a fibreglass boat in distress 40 nautical miles south of Lampedusa under the instructions of the Maltese Rescue Coordination Center. 180 survivors are now being taken care of onboard the Ocean Viking.

01 July 2020: Ocean Viking asked for a Place of Safety (PoS) again – fifth request since Thursday.

02 July 2020: Two survivors jumped overboard. They were recovered by our teams and are now safe onboard. One more person attempted to jump. Survivors show signs of agitation, depression and extreme mental fatigue.

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03 July 2020In the afternoon State of Emergency was declared on board the Ocean Viking after seven requests for a Place of Safety to the relevant maritime authorities within the past week and six suicide attempts by survivors within 24 hours. Situation on board deteriorated to the point that the safety of the 180 survivors and the crew on board can no longer be guaranteed.

04 July 2020: An italian medical team arrived on the Ocean Viking in international waters off Italy to assess the situation. After speaking with survivors they left. SOS MEDITERRANEE is still urgently awaiting instructions for the disembarkation of the 180 survivors from the competent maritime authorities.

05 July 2020: Midday – Italian authorities conducted Covid-19-tests while Ocean Viking was still awaiting official instructions.
Around 5pm – relief on board! Ocean Viking was instructed to proceed to Porto Empedocle, Sicily. 

06 July 2020: Ocean Viking was anchored outside Porto Empedocle – as requested by the harbour´s master – since morning. After a full day of standing by, the disembarkation of 180 survivors from the Ocean Viking started around midnight.

07 July 2020: The disembarkation of 180 survivors who remained on Ocean Viking for up to 11 days waiting to reach safety ended at 3:15 am.

The rescued people were walked to passenger ferry Moby Zazà to reportedly start a quarantine. Media report all survivors’ COVID-19 tests were negative.

The Ocean Viking was nevertheless informed a 14-day quarantine was asked for the crew. As per instructions, the ship is now anchored outside the port of Porto Empedocle.


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Photo credits: Flavio Gasperini / SOS MEDITERRANEE