'Ocean Viking' saves 162 migrants from Mediterranean Sea

The ship rescued about 50 migrants who were crammed into a wooden boat in the Mediterranean Sea adding to another 112 rescued

The humanitarian ship "Ocean Viking" reported on Saturday that it has rescued 50 migrants who were crammed into a wooden boat in the Mediterranean Sea, adding to another 112 rescued from a deflating rubber vessel a day earlier.

"Last night #OceanViking performed a second critical rescue after 8 hrs of searching. Fifty people, including 10 children & a baby, were on an overcrowded wooden boat in dire weather conditions in the Maltese search & rescue region," the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the NGO that operates the ship along with SOS Mediterranee, said in a tweet.

"All are now safe on board," it added.

On Friday, the boat rescued the 112 people who were travelling in a deflating rubber boat 34 nautical miles off the coast of Libya, in that country's search and rescue zone, reports Efe news

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"The teams operating the rescue could hear babies crying and most of the people were very agitated," Ocean Viking's Search and Rescue Coordinator Nicola Stalla said in a statement.

Among those on board were 24 women, three of whom were pregnant, and 38 children, the youngest being 3 months old, the organizations reported on their Twitter accounts.

Currently, only Ocean Viking is located in the central Mediterranean, awaiting the arrival of a boat from the Spanish NGO Open Arms and the "Alan Kurdi", of the German NGO Sea-Eye.

Meanwhile, "Sea-Watch 3" of the German Sea Watch NGO, announced that after more than five months detained in the Italian port of Licata, Sicily won on Thursday a judicial appeal to return to the sea.

Two other rescue boats, "Alex" and "Mare Jonio", which are run by the NGO Mediterranea Saving Humans, are still detained at Licata after they were seized by Italian authorities in July and September, according to reports.

The last docking of rescue ships in Italy was on December 4 when Alan Kurdi and Ocean Viking were given permission to offload 121 migrants five nights after their rescue off the coast of Libya.

According to the "Missing Migrants" project of the International Organization for Migration, 1,246 migrants have died this year in the Mediterranean in their attempt to reach Europe.