After a 7-Month Suspension “Ocean Viking” Sails Again to Rescue Immigrants Off the Coast of Libya – Al Marsad

The European maritime-humanitarian NGO SOS Mediterranee announced that its “Ocean Viking” had departed from the French port of Marseille to commence search and rescue operations off the coast of Libya after a 7-month suspension.

(Libya, 12 January 2021) – A post by the organization on its Twitter confirmed that the Ocean Viking, which is assigned to carry relief operations in the Mediterranean, has moved moved once again to conduct search and rescue operations at sea off the coast of Libya, after a forced suspension by the Italian coastguard that lasted 7 months.

Ocean Viking

The Italian coastguard placed the vessel under “administrative detention” on 22 July following its rescue of 181 refugees. The ship was only allowed to leave port in Sicily on 21 December, when it headed back to France to refuel and resupply.

SOS Mediterranee co-founder Sophie Beau said: “While we are on our way back to the central Mediterranean for the first time in months, we all have in mind what a dreadful year 2020 has been for people caught in circles of abuse in Libya and those attempting to flee by sea.”

“With the Covid-19 pandemic came a renewed ‘closure’ of ports while people continued having to risk their lives at sea to reach safety,” she added.

The organization indicated that the coming days will witness 22 members of the rescue team and its medical team training on sea rescue operations. It said that it had saved more than 31,000 people since the start of its operations in 2016 and they were determined to save more lives.