On Wednesday 22nd July, the rescue ship Ocean Viking has been detained by Italian authorities, citing "technical and operational irregularities".
Chartered by the European civil Search and Rescue organisation SOS MEDITERRANEE, this ambulance ship has rescued more than 2,000 people in one year. Since its creation in 2015, the organisation has assisted more than 31,000 women, men and children at sea.
Held in port in Sicily, the rescue ship is now prevented from carrying out her vital rescue mission at sea, while every week hundreds of people continue to cross the Mediterranean, risking their lives to escape misery, violences and the “Libyan hell”.
This detention is further escalating a continuing administrative harassment of humanitarian vessels in the Mediterranean. It is a cynical political manoeuvre aimed at impeding the rescue activities of NGOs, whose only raison-d'être is yet to fill the rescue gap left by European states in the Central Mediterranean.
Without humanitarian ships to rescue people in distress, the number of deaths on Europe's doorstep will increase again this summer. Demand that Italian authorities free the Ocean Viking. Sign this petition!