French charities report new rescue in Med, over 350 migrants on board ship seeking safe port
French charities SOS Mediterranee and MSF rescued another 105 migrants off the coast of Libya on Monday, bringing to 356 the number of those aboard the ‘Ocean Viking’ now seeking a safe port. The rescue was complicated by the migrants’ blue rubber dinghy starting to sink as the charity vessel approached in international waters around 40 nautical miles from Libya, AFP reported. Those rescued on Monday are all male, mostly Sudanese, and include 29 minors and two boys aged five and 12.
The rescue is the fourth in as many days for the ‘Ocean Viking’, which is equipped to carry 200-250 people although the number on board could increase beyond that. The charities have said fair weather conditions are likely encouraging more departures from Libyan shores.
The rescues come at a time of tension between Italy and other EU states, with the Italian government refusing to let migrants land on its shores unless its EU partners help take them in.
Another 150 rescued migrants are stuck on board the ‘Open Arms’ ship operated by Spanish charity Proactiva off the coast of Italy’s southern Lampedusa island.