MTRCC replies to Ocean Viking stating that : “You have been informed by RCC Malta that your intervention was not requested. For any interceptions on International waters your responsible competent authority is your Flag State”.
April 21, 2023
Ocean Viking tries to contact Malta RCC by Sat Phone to report above situation: “Duty Officer is busy, please send an email”
LYCG Patrol Vessel 656 starts to shoot in the air, multiple times, while keeping in close vicinity with Ocean Viking. Ocean Viking continues to call LYCG Patrol Vessel 656 on VHF ch16 in English and in Arabic. No Answer.
Ocean Viking in position 33 30.2 N 012 25.3 E sends an email to JRCC Tripoli, with ITMRCC and MTRCC in copy, to inform that she spotted the boat in distress and launched two rhibs to assess the situation. The wooden boat is unseaworthy, overcrowded, with about 50 people on board without lifejackets and with women, all exposed to the elements. Ocean Viking informs that she tried to call JRCC Tripoli on two numbers, with no avail. Ocean Viking informs that she will proceed to the assistance of the persons in distress:
“MV Ocean Viking has no information on the availability of other vessels in the area which are capable/available to promptly recover these persons in distress and deliver them to a Place of Safety.
It is ascertained that the distress phase exists as the persons on board are threatened by grave and imminent danger of being lost and require immediate assistance.
This is a case of force majeure (ref.SOLAS Art. IV) imposing to retrieve persons in danger of being lost at sea, as stipulated by the relevant International Maritime Conventions
Relevant shipboard safety and environmental elements have been assessed and it is ascertained MV Ocean Viking has the capacity to recover all of these persons without creating serious danger to the ship and the persons thereon, in line with the provisions of Art. 98 of the UNCLOS Convention. Also, not any risk of pollution will result.
MV Ocean Viking will proceed to the assistance of these persons in distress and rescue them without delay, while keeping competent RCCs duly informed.
“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”
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.
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 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”