Migrants aboard rescue vessel Ocean Viking remain in limbo between Malta and Italy

Ocean Viking, operated by Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee, has already been stranded at sea for 13 days with 356 migrants on board

The Ocean Viking is stranded between Malta and Italy
The Ocean Viking is stranded between Malta and Italy

The migrant rescue vessel Ocean Viking which is operated by Doctors Without Borders and the NGO SOS Mediterranee is in international waters between Malta and Lampedusa.

The Norwegian-flagged ship, Ocean Viking, has already been stranded at sea for 13 days awaiting port access, with 356 migrants onboard.

The ship was previously denied entry by Malta, who said it could not take the lead in this operation and its two requests to Italian authorities have gone unanswered.

The vessel is carrying mostly Sudanese migrants, rescued from the sea in four missions. They include around 100 minors, 90 of which are unaccompanied, three under the age of five.

Similarly, around 100 migrants were stranded off Italy for almost three weeks on the migrant rescue vessel Open Arms during yet another standoff in the Mediterranean. Italian prosecutors intervened and ordered them to be brought ashore against Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s wishes. The migrants disembarked yesterday in Lampedusa and will be redistributed among several EU member states.

According to crew aboard the Ocean Viking, the ship requested port access to Italian authorities on 9 and 12 August, all of which has gone unanswered.

Aboard the Ocean Viking, supplies are running down and the crew has begun to ration showers to conserve water.

"People sleep on the floor. We have a limited number of showers, a limited water capacity. These people have suffered enormously, most of them have gone through detention centres in Libya. They need to disembark as soon as possible," a crew member wrote on social media. 

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