NewsAt least 60 migrants perish at sea, Ocean Viking rescues 224 en route to Italy

At least 60 migrants perish at sea, Ocean Viking rescues 224 en route to Italy

Tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea. 60 migrants dead (illustrative picture)
Tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea. 60 migrants dead (illustrative picture)
Images source: © PAP | AA/ABACA

9:22 AM EDT, March 16, 2024

A tragic incident has occurred in the Mediterranean Sea. At least 60 migrants who embarked on a journey from Libya have perished, as reported by the non-governmental organization SOS Mediterranee, headquartered in Marseille.

The organization, known for its rescue efforts, revealed that its ship, the Ocean Viking, is now en route to Italy with 224 rescued individuals from three separate operations. Among the casualties are women and at least one child.

It was reported that the "rubber boat" carrying the migrants, from which only 25 individuals were rescued, started its voyage on March 8 from the Libyan city of Zawiya. Sadly, the engine failed after three days, leaving the vessel adrift. The migrants endured shortages of food and water.

Two of the rescued migrants were found unconscious and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Sicily for urgent medical care.

Migrants continue to seek refuge in Europe

On Wednesday evening, the Ocean Viking rescued another 113 migrants found adrift at sea, including six women and two children. On Thursday, another rescue operation saved 88 individuals from an "overloaded rubber boat". The Ocean Viking is currently bound for Ancona, Italy, carrying "224 people, including 21 women, about thirty unaccompanied minors, and four children under the age of 4," according to reports.

The crew has appealed to the Italian maritime authorities to allocate the "nearest port" for docking. Meanwhile, the port of Ancona is approximately 900 miles from the vessel's current location.

Back in February, Sophie Beau, the General Director of SOS Mediterranee, criticized the distance of the Italian ports designated for docking, stating it resulted in humanitarian organizations losing a year's worth of time at sea.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has voiced its "deep concern" following another tragic sinking in the Mediterranean Sea, calling for "immediate action" to enhance sea patrols to avert further loss of lives. Since 2016, the Ocean Viking has rescued over 39,000 individuals in the Mediterranean Sea. IOM data shows that, in 2023, 3,105 migrants have died while attempting to cross this stretch of water to reach Europe.

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