New rescue of more than 70 migrants in the Mediterranean

New rescue of more than 70 migrants in the Mediterranean


The Ocean Viking, the humanitarian ship of SOS Méditerranée, rescued 73 migrants on Tuesday in two consecutive rescues in international waters off Libya, bringing the number of survivors on board to 146 , the NGO announced on Wednesday. 

The NGO teams first rescued 33 people, including four minors (two of whom were unaccompanied), who were on board “an unseaworthy and overcrowded wooden boat”, said in a statement. press release SOS Méditerranée, headquartered in Marseilles, south-eastern France.

Soon after, the Ocean Viking rescued 40 people (including ten women, nine unaccompanied minors and three children under the age of four) aboard “a drifting fiberglass boat that was dangerously heeling”, added the NGO.

These two new rescues, after two previous operations over the weekend, bring to 146 the total number of survivors cared for on board the Ocean Viking by teams from SOS Méditerranée and the International Federation of Cross Societies. -Red and Red Crescent (IFRC).

Since the beginning of the year, 1,762 migrants have disappeared in the Mediterranean, including 1,295 in the central Mediterranean, the most dangerous migratory route in the world, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The UN agency has estimated the number of dead and missing in 2021 at 2,062 in the Mediterranean, including 1,567 for the central Mediterranean alone. 

Each year, thousands of people fleeing conflict or poverty try to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean from Libya, whose coasts are some 300 km from Italy.

The new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, leader of the post-fascist Fratelli party d'Italia, pledged on Tuesday to block the arrival of migrants from Africa, even though more than 1,300 people are currently in difficulty in the Mediterranean according to the NGO Alarm Phone.

His New interior minister Matteo Piantedosi has said he could stop NGO ships, and rescued migrants on board, from traveling to Italy, reviving a controversial policy launched in 2019 by chief executive Matteo Salvini. of the League and Deputy Prime Minister in the government ent Meloni.