Following an eventful crossing from Libya, 180 migrants in the Mediterranean rescued the humanitarian vessel Ocean Viking on Monday night to land in Sicily. They will be quarantined.
They are exhausted but relieved that they have finally arrived in Europe. In a single file, surgical mask on their faces and carrying their meager possessions in a backpack that they gave them upon their arrival at Ocean Viking, 180 migrants began to leave this ambulance boat at about 1pm. 11.40 Monday, July 6 in Sicily.
They are mainly Bangladeshi, Pakistani, North African or Eritrean who fled Libya and were stranded for nine days at sea. The Italian maritime authorities had on Sunday approved the NGO’s ship based in Marseille SOS Méditerranée, aboard as an AFP journalist is aboard, in the Sicilian port of Porto Empedocle.
However, the migrants’ journey is far from over: because of the corona virus, they should be quarantined for at least two weeks on the Moby Zaza ferry, moored a hundred meters from the Ocean Viking.
Since the morning, the migrants from Ocean Viking have been waiting for this landing in Sicily and looked at the coast from the boat. “I am very happy that we have finally found a safe place for a safe life,” said Mohammad Irshad, a Pakistani man happy to be able to celebrate his 23rd birthday soon in Italy. “It was very difficult in Libya and I can’t even explain the joy we feel today, it’s just incredible.”
Lack of European “solidarity”
The wait for the last few days to be assigned a port of land rise had created great tensions, especially physical threats to the SOS Mediterranean team that originated from a small group of North Africans who had driven the NGO to declare Friday an emergency for the first time in its history. “The unnecessary delay in this landing puts life in danger,” says SOS Mediterranean, and particularly regrets the absence of European “solidarity”.
The resumption of the Ocean Viking business took place against a backdrop of strong resumption of crossings in the central Mediterranean. And Italy fears that the largest contingent of humanitarian vessels will arrive.
The mayor of Porto Empedocle demanded Monday before journalists massed at the port to send the army to “protect the citizens,” and deplored the arrival of migrants while Sicily, the poor province of extreme south of Italy, suffered much from the containment.
“The picture given to Italians and internationally is negative with the many cases of coronavirus. Here [en Sicile], we have made great efforts to destroy ourselves financially in order to avoid pollution. There’s no one here. My city sees its image weakened “right now as it expects the resumption of the tourist season to restart its activity,” Ida Carmina added.