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News > Italy

234 Survivors Stranded Aboard the Ocean Viking Head for France

  • Migrants aboard the Ocean Viking, Nov. 8, 2022.

    Migrants aboard the Ocean Viking, Nov. 8, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @SOSMedFrance

Published 8 November 2022

The administration of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni did not respond to over 30 port requests made by Ocean Viking.

On Tuesday, the SOS Mediterranee charity informed that the Italian authorities did not allow the humanitarian ship Ocean Viking, which is transporting 234 migrants saved in the Mediterranean Sea 18 days ago, to dock on its territory.


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The ship left international waters off the port of Catania and is heading to the French island of Corsica to disembark the migrants, including some 40 unaccompanied minors.

The administration of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni did not respond to over 30 port requests made by Ocean Viking, which had remained outside the twelve-mile Italian maritime space awaiting a solution.

On Monday night, however, authorities allowed other humanitarian ships to dock. While the Mission Lifeline's Rise Above with 89 migrants on board docked at the Reggio Calabria port, the Doctors Without Borders's Geo Barents with 572 migrants and the SOS Humanity's Humanity 1 with 179 migrants docked at the Catania port.

The tweet read, "234 people have been waiting for 13 days to disembark in a safe Mediterranean port. Meanwhile, the SOS Med France association, which supports these immigrants on the Ocean Viking ship, is calling on France, Spain, and Greece."

Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini, however, decreed that only migrants deemed "vulnerable" could disembark. The rest of the immigrants must remain on board the rescue ships to later be returned to international waters.

After a medical evaluation of the people rescued from the Mediterranean Sea, 144 migrants were able to get off the Humanity 1 and 357 migrants got off the Geo Barents.

"At least 1,337 people have gone missing on the Central Mediterranean migration route this year according to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project," SOS Meditarranee recalled, and urged French authorities to assign a port to disembark the Ocean Viking's 234 survivors.

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