Ocean Viking provides an update on the medical situation of the survivors onboard.
Among some survivors the medical and care team observes an increase of psychological distress. The heat and the lack of space is worsening the condition among all survivors and tensions arise. The situation is aggravating by hour.
Ocean Viking updates Pozzallo Harbour Master of situation onboard and requests medicine
From: Ocean Viking To: Pozzallo Harbour Master Cc: ITMRCC, Catania Sezione Operativa, Ragusa Prefecture, Norwegian Flag
“The survivors are being informed that your medical team is arriving today. Our doctor is requesting that your medical team bring oral diazepam to the ship as we no longer have enough on board. We would need 500 dosages of 5mg.
We are standing by to receive your team like yesterday.”
The Ocean Viking sends a second update to the Pozzallo Harbour master about emergency on board and need to disembark
From: Ocean Viking To: Pozzallo Harbour Master Cc: ITMRCC, Catania Sezione Operativa, Ragusa Prefecture, Norwegian Flag State
Monitoring. 0450B Update 2 The situation on board the Ocean Viking remains the same as it was since we declared the emergency on board. The survivors are currently sleeping or are being cared for by the medical team. There is still a large number of people suffering from psychological distress and who need to disembark as soon as possible. We continue to thank you for your assistance and we will continue to up date with this email or any new developments as they happen. GPS Postion Lat. 36°-17.15 N Long. 015° -02.50 E
The Ocean Viking updates the Pozzallo Harbour master about emergency on board and need to disembark
From: Ocean Viking To: Pozzallo Harbour Master Cc: ITMRCC, Catania Sezione Operativa, Ragusa Prefecture, Norwegian Flag State
“The situation on board the Ocean Viking remains the same as it was since we declared the emergency on board. There is still a large number of people suffering from psychological distress and who need to disembark as soon as possible. We continue to thank you for your assistance and we will continue to up date with this email or any new developments as they happen.”
The Norwegian JRCC kindly asks the Italian MRCC to support the MEDEVAC request
“1. JRCC has spoken to OCEAN VIKING concerning their situation. JRCC ask Master directly following : a. Has OV at any time issued MAYDAY or activated the SSAS – Masters answer – Negative/No b. Has OV at any time ask formally MRCC for MEDEVAC – Masters answer – Positive/Yes c. Has OV asked for full MEDEVAC of all passenger or only those limited to psychological problem – Masters answer – Only limited number. 2. JRCC urge kindly MRCC to assist in MEDEVAC of limited number according to masters need. 3. JRCC considered only the aspect related to MEDEVAC iaw SOLAS/SAR Convention and understand the needs from OV to be of pure medical issue. 4. As a result of no MEDEVAC this JRCC understands the possible consequence could be a safety aspect – which could escalate to be an issue related to Law of Seas. This JRCC do not relates to this aspect as it falls outside the scope of JRCC responsibility. 5. OV position is in MRCC area of responsibility – As MRCC is already an appropriate RCC, this JRCC cannot assume any responsibility related to OV iaw IAMSAR Vol II 3.6.2 and 3.6.3. This JRCC can only kindly advice/ask MRCC to support request for MEDEVAC from OV according to Master needs. Kind Regards”
Pozzallo Harbour Master is informed that the medical team disembarked
From: Ocean Viking To: Pozzallo Harbour Master Cc: ITMRCC, Catania Sezione Operativa, Prefettura Ragusa, Norwegian Flag
“Your medical team has been disembarked from Ocean Viking to CP325. The situation remains the same onboard as per our email updates from yesterday and this morning with the state of emergency still in place. We thank you for your assistance and we hope a solution can be found for the survivors quickly. Please thank the medical team, the crew of CP 325 and Pozzallo Harbour Masters office from the crew of Ocean Viking. “
Ocean Viking explains that the transfer was postponed due to serious safety concerns and in agreement with Italian MRCC and Pozzallo Harbourg master
From: Ocean Viking To: ITMRCC, Norwegian Embassy in Italy, French Embassy in Italy, CROSS Cc: Gabinetto Esteri, Segretaria Capo di Gabinetto, Guardiacostiera
“Please be advised that the only reason that the transfer was postponed at 02h30LT was due to serious safety concerns and in full agreement with ITMRCC and Pozzallo Harbour master. This is fully in keeping with the ongoing emergency and is not contradictory to the ongoing situation. “
Ocean Viking informs of readiness to transfer Italian medical team onboard and of absence of Covid-19 symptoms
From: Ocean Viking To: ITMRCC and Pozzallo Harbour Master Cc: Norwegian Flag State
“After our conversation I am confirming that we will be in the position requested, to the East of the Vega platform and remaining in Intl waters 11h50 B. I have spoken to the medical team onboard who have been screening the survivors twice daily as well our crew for symptoms of COVID 19, and I can state that there have been NO symptoms onboard. There was one suspected case that was medevaced to Lampedusa and he has since tested negative for COVID 19. We will have our rhib in the water to do transfer of your personnel, 2 pax, to Ocean Viking at 1nm from Ocean Viking. We are standing by on VHF 16 for contact with CP 325. We request that CP 325 remains 1nm from Ocean Viking unless there is an emergency. It would be best that they remain astern of Ocean Viking to be able to keep visual in case anyone jumps. Our RHIB, callsign Easy 1 will remain on standby under the instructions of Ocean Viking in case of emergencies.”
Ocean Viking Master emails Flag State seeking advise
The Master of the Ocean Viking emails the Flag State authorities to inform of the critical situation on board. As advised by ITMRCC, the Master seeks advise from the Flag State since the request for an urgent medical evacuation has so far gone unanswered.
Ocean Viking informs ITMRCC via email of declaration of State of Emergency
“Following our phone conversation, I confirm that Ocean Viking is in no other position than to declare a state of emergency onboard.
Ocean Viking has had 180 survivors onboard for several days, including 46 highly psychological unstable individuals who are a risk at any moment to harm themselves, the crew or the vessel. The urgent request to evacuate those people has not led to a positive response yet and we are in no position to control the situation any further.
We are in a state of necessity to reach a port as early as possible. I request all your assistance on this matter.
As per the last call my answers are as follows:
Nature: Serious psychological issues within some survivors Continued actions to self harm themselves and aggressions between themselves and more and more threats and aggression towards the crew 6 suicide attempts 2 MOB 3 Stopped from jumping by crew 1 attempt to hang themselves Situation has been an emergency since we have had no response from any RCC Situation has been ongoing for hours We have been alerting about the situation since yesterday as it continued to worsen and before it became an emergency We proceeded North after there was no response from Malta for several days. They are no longer answering the telephone or they hang up on us and have not responded to any of our emails. We there for contact the next RCC able to assist.”
As the situation on deck becomes uncontrollable and the safety of the survivors, crew and personnel can no longer be guaranteed, the Master of the Ocean Viking declares a State of Emergency over the vessel to request immediate support.
Ocean Viking is in copy of an email from ITMRCC to MTRCC relaying the Ocean Viking’s MedEvac request
“Following our previous e-mail, this MRCC informs RCC MALTA that at 1120UTC, M/V Ocean Viking called via satphone this MRCC reporting that the ship is sailing towards Pozzallo and not Malta (the nearest port) to evacuate 46 people for urgent MEDEVACs because RCC MALTA doesn’t respond to their calls. For any appropriate action, find attached the email from pv regarding urgent medevac request for 44 ppl due to psychological problems. Please note that at the moment of the first urgent medevac request, the ship was 25nm far from malta and 60nm from pozzallo”
ITMRCC emails Ocean Viking suggesting nearest port for the medical evacuation of survivors is Malta
“We bring to your attention an urgent situation on Ocean Viking that requires an immediate large medical evacuation.
We have a group of 44 males who are in acute mental distress and depression. Some of them express suicidal ideas and some have acted upon this. They endanger themselves and the rest of the crew and survivors and need to be evacuated as soon as possible.
Several already attempt suicide since 2 days and are now under medical watch. This morning there was also one medical emergency when one individual became unconscious. He is now being monitored closely in the ship hospital.
The medical team (1 MD, 2 nurses and 1 midwife) does not have the capacity to ensure the individual safety of the 44 survivors.
The weather conditions are worsening and if other people jump overboard we will not be able to safely launch our rescue boat without risking our crew and the lives of rescued people.
Please note the attached general medical report.
For the evacuation, the medical team recommends that there is manpower available to handle potentially agitated people.
Due to the necessity of urgent medical evacuation the Ocean Viking is heading North East toward Pozzallo and we will be standing by for instructions.”
Ocean Viking informs ITMRCC and MTJRCC of suicide attempts and medical emergency, announcing possible request for medical evacuation
“We are currently going to best speed to head for shelter. We currently have multiple survivors who are on suicide watch. 5 have tried to jump into the water and another one tried to hang themselves 20mins ago. We have also just had one person collapse on deck and the medical team is again taking care of them. There will be a medical report following when the doctor is free to write along with a possible demand for multiple medevacs. The situation is very unstable and peoples safety cannot be guaranteed while they remain in limbo onboard.”
ITMRCC emails French and Norwegian authorities asking for acknowledgement of the email from Ocean Viking
To: Ocean Viking, Flag State, Norwegian Embassy in Italy, French Embassy in Italy, CROSS
CC: Gabinetto Esteri, Gabinetto MinIntero, Segreteria Capo di Gabinetto, Guardia Costiera
“Dear Sirs, Due to the increasing critical situation on board, please find attached email received by mv ocean viking concerning an urgent request for assistance. Please acknowledge theis message, keeping informed this MRCC on the action taken”
Ocean Viking emails ITMRCC informing that the vessel will seek shelter from worsening weather conditions to the east of Sicily and warning of increased risk in case of further MOB
From: Ocean Viking To: ITMRCC CC: Flag State “Due to the worsening weather conditions we will need to seek shelter. The only place that offers shelter is currently to the east of Sicily. The other issue is that if other people jump overboard and the weather is too bad we will not be able to safely launch our rescue boat without risking our crew . Please be advised that we may seek shelter remaining outside of the 12nm shortly.”
“Dear Sir , The situation onboard is stable. The people onboard have said that they have been at sea for two days. There are 2 children onboard are suffering from exposure. We are giving them some food and water. They have informed us that they would like to continue on their way north. Aquarius will have the 2 rhibs in the water in case of difficulty and continue to monitor the situation and inform this RCC. We will not interfere with their passage. If you wish for us to indicate the best course please let me know. Until then we will standby for instructions from you . Best Regards”
Aquarius reports to the Libyan JRCC about the situation onboard and asks for further guidance regarding the designation of a place of safety.
It’s part of the duties of the Master to request guidance to the RCC in charge of the SRR where the rescue operation occurs : “[the ship Master should] comply with any relevant requirements of the Government responsible for the SAR region where the survivors were recovered, or of another responding coastal State, and seek additional guidance from those authorities where difficulties arise in complying with such requirements.”[Read more]
Italian MRCC informs Aquarius of details about resupply, scheduled at 06:30 from SV Nos Arries by 3 shuttles via workboat, and transshipment of rescued people to take place afterwards. It also informs that the PoS and place of safety will be Valencia or Mallorca.
Italian MRCC informs Aquarius of food resupply and transshipment of survivors to Italian gouvernemental ships the following morning
Italian MRCC calls Aquarius informing of food resupply around 06:00-07:00 on the following morning and of a planned transshipment of about 500 survivors from Aquarius to two Italian Navy and Coast Guard ships scheduled on following morning.
Aquarius informs the Italian RCC about the medical condition of pregnant women
“Please be informed that we have 6 pregnant women on board at this time. Only 2 need immediate medical attention and would benefit from prompt onshore attention.
The other 4 are stable and from a medical perspective we do not consider their pregnancy as a disease or condition that requires evacuation and therefore we have not requested this for these asymptomatic pregnant women.
3 of the pregnant women have their husbands onboard and one of the husbands is a medical case.
Before any disembarkation of any persons, the individual must fully consent and in order to do this we must explain to them what will happen after their arrival in Italy, both medically and in terms of the asylum process.
Please inform me of these details so we can make an informed consent process with each individual as we do for any medical evacuation.
To which hospital and location will the women be evacuated?
What is the medical capacity on board the evacuation vessel in regards to medical equipment and staff?
Will the husbands be able to evacuate with the women?
Will the evacuees be able to enter the normal asylum process as is their right?
As soon as we have this clear information from you we will be able to make an informed and shared decision with the patients as to whether they will be evacuated.”
Armed Forces of Malta inform Aquarius for the organisation for the respply of food and water
The Aquarius sends an email to the Italian MRCC, copying concerned parties, to report the number of unaccompanied minors and pregnant women on board, confirm that the number of minors accompanied by a single parent is unavailable, and sending the demographic breakdown of survivors on board. It also confirms that the RHIBs of Aquarius are unavailable to operate.
Aquarius informs Italian RCC that the health condition of survivors is at risk to deteriorate
Sent email to IMRCC, with concerned parties in CC, informing that health condition of rescued people on board MV Aquarius is at risk of deterioration over the next hours and requesting to take in the highest consideration the food supply situation. Taking note of RCC Malta message and urging to take immediate action to indicate a PoS.
Aquarius informs Italian RCC about a food limitation of 24h
Sent email to ITMRCC, with concerned parties in Cc, informing of the detailed medical and supplies situation on board MV Aquarius. Alerting that food supplies cannot last more than 24hrs and urging to grant PoS asap.