A Nigerian woman has given birth to a boy on board a rescue ship in the Mediterranean after being plucked from an overcrowded migrant rubber dinghy, BBC reported yesterday.
Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said that the baby’s parents, Otas and Faith Osunbor, had named him Newman Otas. They had been making the perilous crossing to Italy with their two other children, aged seven and five, and were rescued just 24 hours before the baby was born.
But MSF said because the baby was born in international waters, his nationality was still under debate. An MSF midwife on board the ship MV Aquarius, Jonquil Nicholl described the birth as “normal… in dangerously abnormal conditions”.
Mrs Osunbor said she had been “very stressed” on the rubber boat and had been having contractions for three days. Nicholl, who delivered the baby, said: “I am filled with horror at the thought of what would have happened if this baby had arrived 24 hours earlier in that unseaworthy 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.”
MSF communications officer, Alva White reported the baby’s birth in a series of tweets yesterday from the Aquarius, a search and rescue vessel run by the group SOS Mediterranean in partnership with MSF. “Just over an hour ago a baby boy was born on board the Aquarius. Mum, baby, dad and 2 big brothers are all well,” she said.
“The gorgeous little guy was born in international waters so his nationality is still under discussion.”
Ms White told the BBC that such events were rare on rescue ships, although another baby was born on the Aquarius in May to a woman from Cameroon. She said that the 392 people now on board the Aquarius included seven pregnant women.
Thousands of refugees and migrants risk the dangerous crossing from Libya to Europe in search of a better life. Last year, more than 3,700 people are believed to have died attempting the journey.