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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 February 2021

Pregnant woman transferred from migrant ship in emergency

Aid group rescues 374 people in two days

More than 370 people were rescued in two days. Courtesy SOS Mediterranee
More than 370 people were rescued in two days. Courtesy SOS Mediterranee

A pregnant woman has been transferred from a migrant vessel sailing from Libya towards Europe.

She was among more than 370 people rescued in two days by the SOS Mediterranee humanitarian aid group’s ship, Ocean Viking.

They were picked up in a stretch of water used by people trafficking crews sailing into Europe, where there are possible landing points on Greek and Italian islands.

SOS Mediterranee tweeted that the woman was “high risk pregnancy” and she “needed medical attention on shire”.

The Ocean Viking crew rescued people from four overcrowded rubber boats that were in distress.

“Of the 374 survivors on-board #OceanViking, there are 21 babies and 35 children. 131 unaccompanied minors. 2 pregnant women. All survivors urgently need to disembark in a Place of Safety,” the NGO tweeted.

The crew had approached Malta and Italy, among others, with their request to be taken in.

“The majority of the people aboard an inflatable rubber dinghy were found intoxicated by oil fumes,” SOS Mediterranee said in a statement. "They came from Guinea, Sudan and Sierra Leone."

More than 370 people were rescued in two days. Courtesy SOS Mediterranee
More than 370 people were rescued in two days. Courtesy SOS Mediterranee

Ocean Viking left Marseille, France on January 11 after a month-long break from service.

Libya is one of the key staging posts for migrants heading to Europe.

The central Mediterranean route is described by the UNHCR as the most dangerous migration route in the world.

More than 1,200 died last year while trying to cross the Mediterranean.

Migrants in Libya, the key staging post for departures to Europe, are at risk of a wide array of abuses including murder, sexual assault, forced labour and arbitrary detention in appalling – often informal – jails.

The UN’s migration agency said tens of thousands of sub-Saharan migrants could be in danger after it appealed for €100 million ($121.5m) to protect those who have traversed the well-trodden but dangerous route to Europe.

The International Organisation for Migration said the requested funds would support those stranded in North Africa while giving them help in returning and reintegrating to their home countries in West and Central Africa in 2021.

Updated: February 23, 2021 04:18 PM

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