The Ocean Viking, the rescue ship at sea of the NGO SOS Méditerranée, left the port of Marseille on Monday January 11 to return to the central Mediterranean where there are more crossings of candidates for exile, the association announced on Twitter.
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“In the coming days, the 22 members of the rescue team and the medical team of @SOSMedIntl will be training for rescue operations at sea”, SOS Mediterranean tweeted on Monday.
📌 UPDATE L’#OceanViking left the port of #Marseille this morning to return to # Mediterranean central. In the coming days, the 22 members of the rescue team and the medical team of @SOSMedIntl will train in rescue operations at sea. #TogetherForRescue pic.twitter.com/JdGibFD2mD
– SOS MEDITERRANEE France (@SOSMedFrance) January 11, 2021
“We are going back to sea very determined but knowing full well that the health and political context is extremely delicate”, said Sophie Beau, director of SOS Méditerranée in France in mid-December, on board the ship.
Between January 31 and January 2, the Open Arms, the ship of the Spanish NGO Proactiva, rescued 265 people during two separate operations, landed in Sicily between January 4 and 5.
The year 2020 was black for the association, whose ship, a real sea ambulance, was stranded for five months in Italy, in the midst of an upsurge in attempts to cross the central Mediterranean.
→ READ. Migrant minors: “All were evacuated from the human register during their journey”
The candidates for exile from various countries mainly leave Tunisia and Libya to reach Europe via Italy, whose coasts are the closest.
1,200 dead in 2020
The Italian authorities have imposed works on the NGO – “expensive” she said – on the ship for compliance, including the addition of life rafts and additional immersion suits.
In total, more than 1,200 migrants perished in 2020 in the Mediterranean, the vast majority of them on this central route, according to the International Organization for Migration. SOS Méditerranée indicates that it has rescued more than 31,000 people since the start of its operations in 2016.