NGO-led aid ship rescues 500 migrants in the Mediterranean

SOS Mediterranee, the organization operating the rescue ship Ocean Viking, reported on Friday that it has successfully rescued over 500 migrants who were stranded in the Mediterranean during operations conducted over the past two days.

The organization SOS Mediterranee announced on Friday that the rescue vessel Ocean Viking has conducted operations over the past two days, saving over 500 migrants who were adrift in the Mediterranean.

According to the organization, the rescues occurred in the waters between the Italian island of Lampedusa and Tunisia, to the southwest of Lampedusa.

“Already 11 rescues have been carried out over more than 42 hours and more than 500 people have been rescued,” SOS Mediterranee said.

Teams from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) assisted in bringing them aboard the vessel, as mentioned in the report.

“Rescue operations are still going on in the search-and-rescue zone between Tunisia and Lampedusa.”

As indicated by the NGO, the Italian emergency services alerted the Ocean Viking on Thursday, providing the distressed vessel’s coordinates southwest of the island.

For migrants, the central Mediterranean Sea represents the most dangerous maritime passage globally.

The International Organization for Migration, a United Nations agency, reported that this year alone, a minimum of 1,848 individuals have lost their lives while attempting the Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy and Malta.

This number is notably higher compared to the total for 2022, which stood at 1,417.

During June, a single sinking incident in the western Mediterranean resulted in the tragic loss of at least 82 lives, marking one of the most deadly occurrences involving migrants in that region.

In July, the Italian authorities held the Ocean Viking at Civitavecchia port near Rome for a period of 10 days. The vessel was subjected to safety standard inquiries before being eventually released.

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