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Humanitarian organization rescues 92 people off Libya

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The SOS-Mediterranean organization announced that the Ocean Viking rescue ship rescued 92 people, a third of them from the palace, who were trying to escape from Libya on a rubber boat Thursday night to Friday.

“Their boat was in contraction,” said the organization’s director of operations, Frederick Pinar. “It cannot be imagined what would have happened if we hadn’t found them quickly.”

The ship’s crew received an alert around 01:00 Friday (00:00 GMT), and the boat was located an hour later, 30 nautical miles from the Libyan coast, as it grappled with sea currents, according to the non-governmental organization based in Marseille, southeastern France.

Among those rescued were five pregnant women and 38 minors, “most of whom are unaccompanied,” according to Pinar. “They were suffering from hypothermia and seasickness. Also the petrol of the boat was poured into it and on some passengers, and it is well known that the mixture of sea water and fuel oil causes burns.”

The director of operations hopes to “quickly determine a safe port for the boat, as with the possibility of securing emergency medical aid on the ship, the rescue operation does not really end up on land.”

On the night of January 17, the Ocean Viking ship had rescued 39 people on a wooden boat in critical condition at sea. They were sent down after four days in Pozuelo, Italy.

Pinar warned that “as long as the catastrophic living conditions continue in Libya and the attacks on migrants continue, people will flee Libya and at any cost.”

Since the summer of 2018, the Libyan Coast Guard has coordinated the maritime rescue operations that were undertaken by Italy, in a vast “right and rescue” region that extends beyond the Libyan territorial waters. It is a task that, according to the humanitarian organization, cannot be secured by chaos and war in Libya.

In 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded 1,283 deaths in the Mediterranean, with more of them on the central road linking North Africa with Italy.

At least 19,164 people have died at sea in the past five years.

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