Hundreds of migrants, including women and children, were rescued from rubber boats in the Mediterranean last night, with it a total of 407 survivors counted aboard the Ocean Viking in less than 72 hours.
While 47 of those migrants were brought to Malta yesterday by the Armed Forces of Malta, more arrivals are expected, with additional reports stating that 97 were brought in just this morning.
????BREAKING #OceanViking has rescued 184 men, women & children from two rubber boats in distress tonight.
102 people were rescued 80 NM from #Libya & 82 in the Maltese SRR.
With five nighttime operations in less than 72 hours, the total of survivors now safely onboard is 407. pic.twitter.com/ZYNWSVvBKi
— SOS MEDITERRANEE (@SOSMedIntl) January 27, 2020
The humanitarian ship, Ocean Viking, run jointly by organizations SOS Méditerranée and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has rescued over 400 migrants who were coming from Libya over the past three days.
According to SOS Méditerranée, the migrants were “extremely weak and soaked in petrol” and included pregnant women and children.
????BREAKING On a day that has seen 6 reported distress cases across the Central #Med, the #OceanViking just rescued 72 people from a highly unstable, heavily listing & overcrowded wooden boat in the Maltese SRR.
After this critical operation, 223 survivors are now safely onboard. pic.twitter.com/9FUl3TFLie
— SOS MEDITERRANEE (@SOSMedIntl) January 25, 2020
Many of the migrants were rescued in Malta’s Search and Rescue zone and were discovered in overcrowded rubber dinghies and wooden boats.
It is believed that a segment of the migrants are fleeing Libya due to the country’s ongoing civil war.
The Ocean Viking has conducted five nighttime operations in less than 72 hours.
In one of the operations, 32 unaccompanied minors were rescued, 10 of which were under 15 years of age and the youngest onboard being a six-month-old baby.
UPDATE: Of the 92 people rescued by the #OceanViking today, 32 are minors traveling alone. Ten of these unaccompanied children are under 15 years of age, while the youngest person now safely onboard is a baby just 6 months old. Four pregnant women are also among the survivors. pic.twitter.com/oKnKhWlgdP
— SOS MEDITERRANEE (@SOSMedIntl) January 24, 2020
Malta’s emergency refugee services are already stretched as is, to the point that a number of migrant riots were organised amidst degrading conditions that the migrants were forced to live in once they arrive on the island.