The ship "Ocean Viking", operated by the aid organization SOS Méditerranée, is allowed to dock with 113 rescued refugees in the Adriatic port of the Italian city of Ravenna. The authorities have assigned the ship this location in the north-east of the country, the Italian news agency Ansa reported. The aid organization wrote yesterday on Twitter that it would probably take another “four long days” to reach the port, which is almost 1700 kilometers away.
The organization wrote that the 113 people were rescued from an overcrowded inflatable boat “in complete darkness” on Tuesday night. Among them are 23 women, some pregnant, around 30 unaccompanied minors and three babies, the youngest three weeks old. Although one is relieved, but also concerned because the "Ocean Viking" is currently the only rescue ship of a non-governmental organization in the central Mediterranean, it said. It is feared that more people could get into distress at sea, who could not be helped when they were on their way north.
Diplomatic upsets with Paris
According to media reports, Italy's right-wing government wants to introduce new regulations for civil sea rescuers, whose operations it has repeatedly criticized. In November there was diplomatic trouble with Paris because Italy had not allowed the ship "Ocean Viking" to come into port, so it continued to France.
Migrants leave North Africa in mostly unseaworthy boats to reach the EU by sea. Especially in winter, the crossing is risky because of the risk of bad weather and rough sea conditions. The majority reaches Italy, where, according to the Ministry of the Interior, more than 98,700 boat migrants have arrived so far in 2022, significantly more than in the same period last year (around 63,400). Again and again boats capsize and people drown. According to UN figures, more than 1,360 people have been dead or missing in the central Mediterranean this year.