SOS Mediterranee and MSF restart migrant rescue mission

SOS Mediterranee and MSF restart migrant rescue mission
Copyright REUTERS
By Euronews
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After the Aquarius, which sailed from 2016 to 2018, SOS Mediterranee is going back at sea with the Ocean Viking.


SOS Mediterranee announced on Sunday that it is restarting its migrant rescue mission in partnership with the NGO Doctors without Borders.

The mission is going at sea off the coast of Libya with SOS Mediterranee's new ship, the Ocean Viking, a "more robust, faster and younger" ship replacing the Aquarius rescue boat.

"We set sail again and travel to the central Mediterranean to continue our life-saving mission", the organisation said in a statement.

The Aquarius sailed between February 2016 and December 2018, saving around 30,000 migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean sea in their attempts to reach Europe.

"In the past months, we have not only strengthened our operations on land and reinforced our observance of the Law of the Sea, but also sought a new ship", SOS Mediterranee said.

"The Ocean Viking is more robust, faster and younger than the Aquarius."

The ship was rebuilt and adapted to the rescue mission, the group said: "We have installed several emergency shelters for the survivors from distress, installed a clinic for our medical cooperation partner Doctors Without Borders, and install storage space for our rescue equipment and supplies."

"We view the return to search and rescue as a duty, fuelled by the humanitarian need to prevent people from drowning while they seek safety from Libya", Doctors without Borders (MSF) said in a statement.

"EU governments continue to shirk their responsibility for search and rescue and their duty towards people rescued in the Mediterranean."

"The Ocean Viking was originally conceived as a rescue vessel and had great potential for SOS Mediterranee and MSF to add all the necessary elements to rescue people in distress, to provide care and to protect survivors", Frédéric Penard, SOS Mediterranee's Director of Operations, said in a statement.

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