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The humanitarian ship "Ocean-Viking" declares itself in a state of emergency, with 180 migrants on board




It has been a week since the ship of the NGO SOS Méditerrannée made its first request for the allocation of a landing port. Since Thursday, the security situation on board has greatly deteriorated.



Brawls, suicide attempts, physical threats to the crew: the tension is such on board the Ocean-Viking that the humanitarian ship, carrying 180 people rescued in the Mediterranean, declared on Friday July 3 in "state of emergency " .

After the two men who threw themselves overboard in a desperate gesture the day before, the day on Friday began before breakfast was distributed with a suicide attempt and a fight involving several of the migrants rescued by the boat from the 'NGO SOS Mediterranean during four separate operations, June 25 and 30 .

Since then, "the situation on board has deteriorated to the point that the safety of the 180 survivors and the crew can no longer be guaranteed," explained SOS Mediterranean, which is calling for an "immediate" landing . Given the “extreme tension” that reigns there, the Ocean-Viking therefore declared itself “in a state of emergency, a first” for an NGO boat whose rescue operations at sea for four and a half years had started with the Aquarius , said Agence France-presse (AFP) Laurence Bondard, spokesperson.

"Acute psychological distress"

It's been a week since the ship made its first request to allocate a port of disembarkation, but after seven requests in as many days to the Italian and Maltese authorities - one of the rescues was made straddling the waters dependent on these two countries, while the other three were in those of Malta -, the Ocean-Viking received dismissals.

Since Thursday, several fights have broken out on the deck of the boat between migrants and six suicide attempts have been identified by SOS Mediterranean, but since Friday, it is also the crew which is targeted by these threats, emanating from the same group of migrants. Moreover, the NGO asked in the afternoon for medical evacuation on the grounds of "acute psychological distress" of these 44 people, Tunisians, Moroccans and Egyptians.



Blocked for more than a week at sea, some have developed a paranoia, explains SOS Mediterranean, thinking in particular that the NGO, in cahoots with the Italian authorities, would earn a little more money every day if it kept them on board.

"I do not feel safe, we have to find a port now, it is a question of safety" , explains Ludovic, one of the seafarers already present at the time of the Aquarius , and who admits to having "Never experienced such violence" aboard a boat. This situation, summarizes SOS Mediterranean, is the "direct consequence of a long and unnecessary blockage at sea" . In the immediate future, regarding the medical evacuation request, Italy offered the telephone number of a psychologist, deplored SOS Mediterranean.


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watchincalm
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