+++Baby born aboard Aquarius following rescue operation+++
This morning, Tuesday 21st March, a little girl was born aboard the Aquarius. Mother and child are both well. Mother Taiwo from Nigeria was rescued this past weekend in an operation taking more than 15 hours, when 945 lives were saved altogether. The Aquarius was on its way to Italy to disembark the rescued on mainland, when Taiwo went into labour. The birth of little Mercy went smooth. Alexander Moroz, captain of the Aquarius, was one of the first to congratulate the mother and handed over the official birth certificate. It is already the fourth baby to be born aboard the Aquarius.
“The mother did very well, she was very brave. Giving birth to a child is one of the most intimate moments in a woman’s life, and she had to go through it on a boat surrounded by complete strangers”, explains Elizabeth Ramlow, midwife aboard the Aquarius.
In the night from Saturday to Sunday, the European sea rescue organisation SOS MEDITERRANEE rescued more than 900 refugees from a total of nine wooden and rubber boats – more than ever before. It was thanks to the support from rescue organisations Life Boat and Sea Watch that everyone was brought safely aboard the Aquarius. Amongst the rescued are around 200 unaccompanied minors. During the course of this afternoon all rescued people, including little Mercy, will disembark in Catania. Ashore they will be met by Italian authorities and relief organisations.
SOS MEDITERRANEE is the only civil rescue ship operating continuously over these winter months. Since the start of 2017, the team aboard the Aquarius, including partner Doctor Without Borders (MSF), has rescued over 3,000 people. Till this day, there is no European-wide rescue programme, despite demands from civil rescue organisations and NGOs. Due to the lack of response to this humanitarian catastrophe at the EU level, it is civil rescue organisations that have taken over this task.