Having not received a reply to our last email sent on 20th Sep at 1915B, we would appreciate if IT MRCC and Malta RCC could please provide this vessel with a feedback.
We understand that the 182 survivors on board MV Ocean Viking were rescued in a sea area that is outside of the SRRs of Italy and Malta, hence not under primary responsibility of IT MRCC and RCC Malta.
However, please note that Ocean Viking has already exhausted the steps in relation to the competent authorities of the Libyan SRR.
On the 17th of September Ocean Viking requested a Place of Safety from JRCC Tripoli and on the 18th of September, JRCC Tripoli communicated Al Khums as a Place of Safety for the disembarkation of the survivors.
Within the framework of the relevant Conventions and Regulations, the European Commission and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees issued clear positions stating that currently Libya does not meet the criteria for being designated as a place of safety for the purpose of disembarkation following rescue at sea (https://www.refworld.org/docid/5b8d02314.html)
Therefore, on 18th of September, Ocean Viking had to request from JRCC Tripoli an alternative POS that can qualify as such, but the Libyan authorities have been unresponsive ever since.
Once we were not provided with an alternative and valid POS by the Libyan authorities, Ocean Viking has requested a POS to IT MRCC and RCC Malta, which we considered as the better able to assist RCCs due to their geographical proximity and the historical involvement in the SAR operations across the central Mediterranean sea, where both countries have contributed to fill the shortcomings in the Libyan SRR.
Nevertheless, as stated in our last email, we would accept assistance from all RCCs able to assist in this process of designating a Place of Safety as early as possible.
Recalling the provisions of Chapter 3 of the SAR Convention, Ocean Viking kindly invites Italy and Malta to co-operate, and where necessary to co-operate with those other RCCs they consider able to assist, to make the necessary arrangements to identify the most appropriate place for disembarking these 182 persons found in distress at sea as soon as reasonably practicable.
We consider that the spirit of co-operation and solidarity, which is the foundation of the relevant Conventions, should give impetus to all initiatives to arrange a prompt disembarkation of survivors.
The 182 rescued people on board the Ocean Viking include 13 women 1 among whom is 8 months pregnant, 40 minors, and a newborn baby. 29 of the minors are unaccompanied, and 6 of the women are single travellers. When they were brought onboard Ocean Viking, the survivors were suffering from fuel inhalation and fuel burns. Due to weather conditions many survivors are suffering from seasickness. Some of the survivors on board speak of being held in places of captivity for varying periods of time, and present marks of physical violence. Situation on board with limited space coupled with the deteriorated weather conditions are negatively affecting the social dynamics among the rescued people. The partial disembarkation of those who were later rescued in the Maltese SRR brought additional psychological stress among those remaining on board.
Please note that an intensified environment of stressors may potentially cause conflicts among the rescued people, which may escalate into security concerns for the people on board.MV Ocean Viking
While waiting for further instructions from you or those RCC you would consider able to assist, Ocean Viking is standing by in this area. Vessel current position 36°03’N / 013°17’E
OCEAN VIKING SAR Operations > 16-24 September 2019 > 35 survivors, disembarkation: Maltese military vessel / 182 survivors, disembarkation: Messina
September 22, 2019 16:15