180 Migrants Reach Italy After Ship Emergency Declared

Story ByLee Bullen, Sub EditorMichael Leidig, AgencyNewsflash

Credit: Newsflash/Flavio Gasperini, SOS MEDITERRANEE

This is the moment 180 migrants step onto Italian soil after 11 days at sea where multiple suicide attempts were reportedly made in a 24-hour period leading to a state of emergency.

The 180 migrants were on board the humanitarian rescue ship Ocean Viking, chartered by the charity group SOS Mediterranee, when the ship’s heads declared a state of emergency over six alleged suicide attempts.

The Ocean Viking passengers were eventually allowed to disembark in the town of Porto Empedocle in the Italian island of Sicily after being refused at seven previous stops, according to SOS Mediterranee.

Credit: Newsflash/Flavio Gasperini, SOS MEDITERRANEE

The migrants spent 11 days on the vessel and their situation became increasingly desperate as seven ports in Italy and Malta ignored their previous docking requests, according to the maritime-humanitarian organisation for the rescue of life at sea.

SOS Mediterranee said the docking refusals led to six reported suicide attempts by the migrants on board the Ocean Viking.

The organisation tweeted on 7th July: “The disembarkation of 180 survivors who remained on #OceanViking for up to 11 days waiting to reach safety ended at 3.15am today.

“They were walked to passenger ferry Moby Zaza to reportedly start quarantine. Media reports all survivors’ COVID-19 tests were negative.”

Credit: Newsflash/Flavio Gasperini, SOS MEDITERRANEE

According to reports, the migrants, mainly from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, and several North African countries, were picked up while fleeing Libya.

Among the migrants were 25 minors and two women, one of whom was pregnant.

The 180 migrants will reportedly spend two weeks in quarantine on board the Italian ferry Moby Zaza due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ferry was docked next to the Ocean Viking when the migrants were allowed to disembark.

Credit: Newsflash/Flavio Gasperini, SOS MEDITERRANEE

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