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Jérémie Lusseau / SOS MEDITERRANEE

The ship

SOS MEDITERRANEE has been operating the Ocean Viking since 2019

Originally constructed in 1986 as a support vessel for the North Sea’s oil and gas industry, the Ocean Viking was repurposed for our humanitarian efforts. With a maximum speed of 14 knots the Ocean Viking is faster than the Aquarius, our previous ship, which allows us to respond to distress calls faster and prevent loss of life.

The vessel has undergone renovations to bolster its search and rescue capabilities, as well as to optimize the onboard facilities for receiving survivors.

Search and rescue

A high-level Bridge offers a panoramic 360° view, enabling the swift detection of distressed vessels. To facilitate nighttime searches, two radars and two infrared cameras allow the Ocean Viking to quickly locate boats in distress. The vessel is also equipped with 3 semi-rigid lifeboats, Easy-1, Easy-2 and Easy-3.

Credit: Ania Gruca / SOS MEDITERRANEE


The afterdeck is equipped with a dozen containers to accommodate, protect and care for survivors, as well as store food and equipment. Among its amenities, there are eight showers, including two reserved specifically for women, enabling rescued individuals to cleanse themselves of fuel oil and seawater. These showers are also used daily by the survivors.  

Moreover, a 60-square-meter medical unit includes a small waiting area, an emergency consultation room, a midwifery room, and an observation room equipped with six beds. Additionally, a refrigerated container serves as a morgue when necessary.

Credit: Claire Juchat / SOS MEDITERRANEE

A day at sea costs 24,000 euros

The funding for our mission stems primarily from private donations.

The crew onboard

Credit: Lucille Guenier / SOS MEDITERRANEE

Aboard the Ocean Viking, each mission mobilizes a search and rescue coordinator, a deputy search and rescue coordinator and eleven search and rescue team members. Since the start of its operations in 2016, SOS MEDITERRANEE has recruited over 120 search and rescue (SAR) team members from 17 different nationalities.

Medical care, onboard care of survivors and logistics are provided by seven to eight professionals, including a doctor, a midwife, and a nurse. Until September 2021, these positions were filled by SOS MEDITERRANEE. In August 2021, the association established an operational and financial partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). IFRC staff joined our survivor care teams onboard in September 2021. Since then, a joint SOS MEDITERRANEE and IFRC team has been providing crucial post-rescue support: distribution of food, dry clothes, blankets and basic hygiene products, medical care, psychological assistance. Additionally, IFRC contributes financial support for maritime operations.

While each team member holds a specific role, shared vigilance and mutual support are fundamental principles guiding their actions onboard.

Virtual tour