The 16-year previous boy from Eritrea was the primary to step off the Ocean Viking vessel onto Italian soil – at exactly 11:31 on Friday (9 July), within the port of Augusta, Sicily.
He had earlier within the week informed EUobserver that he spent 4 years in Libya, together with over two years in a detention centre in Zuwarah, a recognized smuggling hub.
At huge threat, his father had collected $2,000 to set him free and onto a ship in the direction of Europe, he stated.
As he stepped onto the gangway from the boat to the dock, Italian authorities motioned him to attend.
So he remained on the steel platform straddling the boat and the port for about quarter-hour – lower than a metre away from the tip of an unimaginable journey no particular person ought to ever must expertise.
The information that the Ocean Viking had been given a port of security late Thursday got here at a vital second.
Tensions had been mounting all through the week. And with meals rations dwindling, the SOS Mediterranée crew was doing all the things doable to maintain everybody calm.
However with a protected port declared, a wild pleasure exploded Thursday night among the many 572 rescued folks on board.
By early Friday morning, the coast of Sicily had change into clear, and together with it, the historic buildings of Syracuse.
The energetic volcano of Mount Etna additionally appeared simply past the port of Augusta, the place the Ocean Viking was informed to disembark.
Folks had already began to sit down in traces, knees-to-back, holding their orange tote baggage as they watched the tankers and small boats go them by.
As if in an indication of what lay forward, the Ocean Viking was then piloted previous the Geo Barents rescue ship operated by MSF and impounded by the Italian authorities after having saved over 400 folks.
It then docked at a port, subsequent to massive piles of steel garbage, and swung open its port aspect doorways.
“Okay we are able to begin,” stated SOS Mediterranee’s rescue coordinator Luisa Albera at 11:24.
Italian authorities, together with the police and employees from the UN refugee company and the Worldwide Group for Migration (IOM) have been busy organising stands.
The plan appeared four-fold.
First take photographs and ID the survivors, then a Covid-19 check, registration, and a ultimate police safety test earlier than being led elsewhere.
Households with youngsters, minors, and people with accidents, have been the primary to depart.
However throughout the hour, the primary confirmed optimistic Covid case had been discovered. The younger male was moved again onto Ocean Viking the place he’s being stored remoted in a cooled aft container.
Others will possible observe him over the course of the following two-to-three days of disembarkation.
Out of the 572 folks rescued, 183 are minors. Aside from 27 ladies and women, all are male. There are some 26 totally different nationalities.
The largest is represented by Bangladesh with 151, adopted by Egypt (119) and Eritrea (85). Eleven Syrians are additionally onboard.