The ambulance ship chartered and based in Marseille by NGO SOS Mediterranee has been involved in eight rescue operations off the coasts of Libyan and Malta since June 24th.
A total of 306 rescued migrants have now boarded the ship, some for 11 days "under extreme temperature". There are 53 women on board, including four pregnant and 87 unaccompanied minors. The Ocean Viking has yet to find a Mediterranean port where it can disembark. On Tuesday, the NGO SOS Mediterranee appealed to the Ocean Viking to "disembark immediately in a safe harbor".
The Ocean Viking saved 300 people in May during its last mission in central Mediterranean. It was the most dangerous migratory route on the planet. However, it had to wait around ten more days to be designated as a safe port in Sicily so they could disembark.
According to the International Organization for Migration, 805 migrants have fled the central Mediterranean since the start of the year. According to the UN agency, 1,553 people will be missing or killed in the region by 2021.
Each year thousands fleeing poverty or conflict attempt to reach Europe via the Mediterranean crossing from Libya. The coasts of Libya are approximately 300km from Italy.