Will the Ocean Viking migrant boat dock in France? The ship in critical condition

Will the Ocean Viking migrant boat dock in France The

The humanitarian ship Ocean Viking could dock in Corsica, this Thursday, November 10, following Italy’s refusal to welcome the 234 migrants on board.

It has now been more than two weeks since 234 people have been on board the humanitarian ship, Ocean Viking. The ship arrived in Italian waters almost 20 days ago, but the new Italian government, headed by Giorgia Meloni, refused to disembark the migrants collected on board by the NGO SOS Méditerranée. Authorization which had however been accepted, partially, for three boats having rescued migrants; only some survivors were able to descend on Italian lands last October.

Rome’s refusal to let the ship Ocean Viking land strains relations between France and the Italian government. This Wednesday, November 9 at the microphone of France info, Olivier Véran judged the attitude of Italy as “unacceptable”. The spokesperson for the French government also estimated that the humanitarian boat was “destined to be welcomed in Italy”. The former Minister of Health even went further in his statements by adding that “France demands, asks and expects from its neighbor and friend that it respects its commitments”.

For its part, the NGO SOS Méditerranée alerted the European authorities via a communicated “The situation on board the Ocean Viking has reached a critical point. We are now facing very serious consequences, including the risk of loss of life,” she warned. The letter from the association also specified that, faced with the silence of the Italian authorities, on November 8 the ship Ocean Viking had sent “a request for a place of safety to the French rescue coordination center”. The boat could moor in Corsican waters from Thursday 10 November. The President of the Executive Council of Corsica, Gilles Simeoni, warned in a tweet that “in accordance with its tradition of hospitality and to avoid any loss of human life, Corsica is ready, if necessary, to temporarily host the Ocean Viking in one of its ports”.

What does international law say?

During the crisis of the Aquarius ship which was stuck in Italian and Maltese waters in 2018, Niki Aloupi, professor at the University of Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas and Hélène Raspail, lecturer at the University of Le Mans, had recalled the rules regarding the reception of survivors. Asked by Dalloz, they had underlined that “the place of disembarkation is unfortunately not identified by the various rules of international law”. International law provides for disembarkation in a “safe place” but does not provide further details. They also deplored a lack of clarity on this sensitive subject because “international law leaves States with the burden of this obligation”. Few changes have therefore been observed between 2018 and 2022, because humanitarian crises pass but are similar.