A baby has been born onboard a rescue ship in the Mediterranean, just moments after his parents were rescued from a dinghy.
The baby boy was born on Monday morning on a search and rescue ship called MV Aquarius. The ship is run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in conjunction with SOS Méditerranée who confirmed the news.
Otis and Faith are the parents of the baby boy. They have two other children; Victory who is 7 years old and Rollres who is five. They were all a part of the 253 people who were on board a rubber dinghy on the Mediterranean. The people on the dinghy as well as those on another were rescued by MSF. According to MSF, about 97 people rescued were under 18, while 10 were under 5. Also, four babies were less than a year old, including the baby born on the ship.
The mother of the newborn, Faith, said she had been having contractions and was scared at the prospect of having to give birth to her baby on the floor of a dinghy boat.
“I was very stressed on the rubber boat, sitting on the floor of the boat with the other women and children. Panicking that I would go into labour. I could feel my baby moving, he would move down and then move back up again. I had been having contractions for three days.”
However, Faith’s circumstances changed when she, as well as over 200 other people, were rescued by MSF and SOS Méditerranée. Her baby was born on the rescue ship with the aid of Jonquil Nicholl an MSF midwife.
Nicholl was frustrated at the conditions and risks the migrants had to face in order to escape the hardship of their previous life.
“I am filled with horror at the thought of what would have happened if this baby had arrived 24 hours earlier; in that un-sea-worthy rubber boat, with fuel on the bottom where the women sit, crammed in with no space to move, at the mercy of the sea. And 48 hours previously they were waiting on a beach in Libya not knowing what was ahead of them.
“How can this still happen in 2016? That families, vulnerable people, pregnant women, tiny babies and unborn babies are forced to risk their lives in the Mediterranean Sea when they should be receiving assistance and protection,” she said.