The Ocean Viking will land 180 migrants in Sicily, in a joy bitter-sweet [PHOTOS]

L’Ocean Viking va débarquer 180 migrants en Sicile, dans une joie douce-amère [PHOTOS]

L’Ocean Viking va débarquer 180 migrants en Sicile, dans une joie douce-amère [PHOTOS]

The ship humanitarian <em>Ocean Viking</em> has received on Sunday the permission to land the 180 migrants in Sicily.

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July 5, 2020 18h55

Updated at 23h05

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TheOcean Viking will land 180 migrants in Sicily, in a joy bitter-sweet [PHOTOS]

Shahzad Abdul

Agence France-Presse

An explosion of joy, but a bitter aftertaste. The ship humanitarian Ocean Viking has received on Sunday the permission to land the 180 migrants in Sicily, causing a scene of jubilation among the survivors, but the tensions of the last few days have left indelible traces.

“We have received the statement of the maritime authority of the Italian to land the survivors on board at Porto Empedocle [south of Sicily]. The vessel is under way at this time to this port that we believe will join by tomorrow [Monday] morning,” explained its charterer SOS Mediterranean to theAFP, including a journalist is on board.

On the deck of the boat ambulance, which had collected at the edge of these Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, North Africans or Ghanaians in the four operations on 25 and 30 June, the announcement has provoked hugs, cheers, songs, and égoportraits, who have been forgotten by the space of a few minutes the extreme tension that prevailed there, to the point that the’Ocean Viking had to place themselves in a state of emergency on Friday, a first.

“We are very happy ! We come from far away, Libya has been a hell and now finally we see the end. I can’t wait to tell my family that I am living”, said Rabiul, 27 years old, a native of Bangladesh, the country most represented on board.

On the ship, migrants dance, draw “Thanks Ocean Viking” on their t-shirt, jump into the arms of the crew members, SOS Mediterranean, which, a few days earlier, was under threat of aggression by a minority of them, who did not hesitate to jump overboard in a sign of desperation after more than a week of deadlock in the sea.

L’Ocean Viking va débarquer 180 migrants en Sicile, dans une joie douce-amère [PHOTOS]

AFP, Shahzad Abdul

“It has not been easy,” concedes Emmanuel, a Ghanaian of 32 years who condemns and wants to forget these episodes. “Today, it is a great joy. SOS Mediterranean has saved our lives and helped us a hope that we had lost”, he explained, dropping for a moment his tam-tam.

“Now, a second life opens before us, after all we saw in Libya. Thank you Italy for giving us the second, and the SOS to have saved the first”, lance-t-il.

Quarantine

Around the tam-tam, also, the crowd of North Africans and other groups contrast with the racial tensions of the past few days. By the way, right behind them, Black africans have felt the need to post a drawing on which one can read “Black Lives Matter” … sub-titled in Arabic.

On their arrival in Sicily, those 180 people will be transferred “to the edge of the Moby Zaza”, a ferry docked in the port of Porto Empedocle to be placed in quarantine for two weeks, said Sunday to theAFP, the Italian ministry of the Interior.

L’Ocean Viking va débarquer 180 migrants en Sicile, dans une joie douce-amère [PHOTOS]

Fifteen minutes after the announcement of the landing, whose waiting had caused so much of tension, calm has returned on the boat.

“I’ve never seen a party that ends too soon after that kind of announcement, they are exhausted,” says Maggie, responsible for humanitarian issues.

“It is a relief,” says Charlie, a marine-rescuer Swedish, which summarizes the feeling of the small team of 22 members, SOS Mediterranean. The tensions were such that it was not uncommon, these days, to find some of them in tears, in a hallway, or at the end of his strength, fell asleep on the bridge during the round which have been doubled due to concerns about the safety.

Nicholas Romaniuk, head of emergency operations on board, says this is the first time that he decided “not to lower the guard until the persons to be landed”.

L’Ocean Viking va débarquer 180 migrants en Sicile, dans une joie douce-amère [PHOTOS]

TheOcean Viking in the heart of the Mediterranean sea.

“We will be relieved when this will be done. For now, we must remain attentive. The psychological problems of some remain the same. So we can maintain the vigilance”, he explains.

Party Monday for Marseille, its home port in the south of France, where it remained docked for three months because of the health crisis linked to the sars coronavirus, the recovery of the activity of the’Ocean Viking was made in a context of strong recovery of the crossings of the central Mediterranean.

“It was thought that the more difficult it would be to manage the COVID” during this mission, smiles a marine. “And here we are in a state of emergency.”

Le Soleil

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