As the Corona virus continues to spread worldwide, we hope that you and your loved ones are well. With this E-Mail we wanted to communicate to you some updates about our mission.
Our rescue ship, the Ocean Viking, has just arrived in the port of Marseille. While our teams adapt our operations to this exceptional context, the Ocean Viking will remain docked for now.
The pandemic is causing serious disruptions in access to medical and logistical services in most European states. At the same time, it completely brings to a halt the maritime world: crew relief is being made impossible, the ports are closed, boats are being quarantined, amongst many other things. Extraordinary measures, such as closing the European borders, have also been taken.
In this rapidly changing situation, our responsibility is therefore to assess the situation in order to be able to sail out again, under conditions that will be able to guarantee the health of our teams, of the people we help, and the security of our mission.
The humanitarian emergency continues in the central Mediterranean. Despite the absence of search and rescue NGOs operating and no search and rescue assets available, men, women and children continue to flee Libya on unseaworthy boats. Over the weekend, more than 400 people were intercepted and returned to Libya, a country that can clearly not be considered a safe place for people seeking safety.
Our determination to save lives remains our priority and we will never take our eyes off the Mediterranean. Our teams remain fully mobilized to prepare for our return to sea as quickly as possible, in order to continue our rescue mission.
The SOS MEDITERRANEE teams at sea and on land wish to express their solidarity with the emergency services of all countries currently trying to save lives, by all means necessary, in these moments of unprecedented crisis. In these difficult times, more than ever, solidarity is essential. Take care of yourself and those around you!
Your SOS MEDITERRANEE team
Photo credits: Anthony Jean / SOS MEDITERRANEE