7 July 2020






3 mins

On Friday 3rd July, 2020 the NGO SOS Mediterranee ship OCEAN VIKING with rescued illegal immigrants in Central Mediterranean has issued a state of emergency after 6 souls embarked attempted suicide in 24 hours, 2 of them that went on a hunger strike. “This is an unprecedented step in the history of SOS Mediterranée, triggered first and foremost by the rapid deterioration of the mental health of some of the survivors on board,” the sea rescue charity running the ship said in a statement.

Positions on Saturday 27th June and Sunday 28th June off Lampedusa

There are a group of 44 people on board who are “in a state of acute mental distress” who have “expressed intentions to inflict harm both on themselves and on others, including members of the crew, and expressed suicidal ideas,” the rescue organisation added.

OCEAN VIKING had rescued more than 100 illegal immigrants last 25th June after resuming normal operations following the coronavirus lockdown with another 2 rescues were carried out on 30th June.

Heading to SAR Area on Thursday 25th June at 0900 hrs.

Among the 180 souls aboard there are 25 minors, 17 of whom are unaccompanied. Also 2 woman aboard with one of them is five months pregnant.

Tuesday 30th June off Lampedusa at 2220 hrs.

Search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea paused while many European countries were on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many rescue teams have said they tried to deploy COVID-19 protocols but rescue groups have warned that the pandemic disease has not deterred people from making the trip in fact several illegal immigrants last June reportedly tested positive for the virus.

Drifting offshore Pozzallo on Friday 3rd July at 2240 hrs.

On Saturday while OCEAN VIKING was still outside territorial waters off Pozzallo, an italian medical doctor and translater embarked aboard to commence their assessment shortly in cooperation with the NGO team.

And on Sunday 5th July afternoon the Italian maritime authorities instructed OCEAN VIKING to disembark the illegal immigrants in Porto Empedocle so once the coronavirus tests are done they are expected to be transferred to the ropax MOBY ZAZA serving as the quarantine ship giving her ETA to Monday 6th July.

On Monday 6th July around 0500 hrs the OCEAN VIKING arrived and was instructed to drop anchors at Porto Empedocle waiting area and wait for more instructions –

Meanwhile, all the swabs made to the 169 souls embarked on the quarantine ship MOBY ZAZA are negative – Late Monday Morning they will be disembarked and transferred to other institutes while the quarantine ship will have to be sanitised before they can embark the 180 illegal immigrants of OCEAN VIKING. After the disembarkation of the 169 immigrants and before the embarkation of the 180 immigrants, 42 souls will remain, of whom 30 are infected by Covid and currently on deck 7: the so-called “red zone”.

Later afternoon she was granted permission to enter Porto Empedocle –

She was escorted by Guardia Di Finanza Buratti Class Patrol Craft G 216 FINANZIERE VERDECCHIA

Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –

Published – Tuesday 7th July, 2020

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© All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –