AFP, published on Friday, August 30, 2019 at 19:14
Back in Marseille since Tuesday after the rescue at sea of 356 migrants, Ocean Viking will leave "as soon as possible" despite a difficult context, announced Friday SOS Mediterranean.
The boat chartered by this NGO and Doctors Without Borders, will resume the sea "as quickly as possible, it's a matter of days," said research coordinator and relief Nicholas Romaniuk at a press conference on board of the ship.
Maintenance and repair work is under way, "as soon as all that is done, we will leave again," he assured.
The crew feels "tired" but remains "very motivated" despite the complexity of rescues off the coast of Libya, he said.
The Ocean Viking moored Tuesday in the port of Marseille after 23 days at sea and the rescue of four makeshift canoes in distress. The 356 survivors were landed off Malta after 12 days of waiting in the Mediterranean.
Mr Romaniuk denounced the lack of coordination that led to the deaths of hundreds of migrants sometimes on "rubber boats of 13, 15 meters, with almost 200 people on board".
"As soon as we see a boat, we call the Libyan coast guards but they do not respond," he said.
The operation of the Ocean Viking requires "14,000 euros per day and it is mainly citizens who finance our missions," said Sophie Bau, CEO of SOS Méditerranée France, who cited among the items of expenditure the rental of the ship, the cost of the crew, fuel oil or maintenance.
Beyond rescue operations, the landing of migrants tense the countries of the European Union, in a context of suspicion towards humanitarian organizations, sometimes accused of playing the game of smugglers.
"It's been fourteen months (…) since the closure of the Italian ports", we expect the establishment of landing mechanisms, recalled Ms. Bau.
"It can very, very quickly degenerate when people have no prospect of landing in a safe harbor: their greatest fear is to be brought back to Libya" where they describe deplorable living conditions, she stressed.