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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# migrant crisis
'Normal birth in dangerously abnormal conditions': Baby born on rescue vessel in international waters
The baby boy’s mother said she was having contractions for three days on a rubber boat.

Alva White / MSF Alva White / MSF / MSF

A HEALTHY BABY boy has been delivered on board a search and rescue vessel in international waters.

The baby boy was born to Nigerian parents and they have called him Newman Otas. His parents, Oras and Faith, and his older brothers Victory (7) and Rollres (5) were rescued from an overcrowded rubber boat 24 hours before he was delivered.

baby boy born on MV Aquarius Alva White / MSF Victory and Rollres (pictured here with the father) were rescued from an overcrowded rubber boat. Alva White / MSF / MSF

Speaking after giving birth aboard a vessel run by Médecins Sans Frontières and SOS Mediterranee, Faith said: “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.”

New arrival on Aquarius Alva White / MSF Faith with her new baby Newman, her son Rollres and midwife Jonquil Nicholl. Alva White / MSF / MSF

I had been having contractions for three days.

MSF Midwife Jonquil Nicholl, who delivered the baby, described it as “a very normal birth in dangerously abnormal conditions”.

“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 with no space to move, at the mercy of the sea,” she said.

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.

Alva White / MSF Alva White / MSF / MSF

Currently 392 people are on board the MC Aquarius after people from two rubber boats were rescued and one transfer was accepted. 155 people now on board are under 18 years of age and 141 of those are travelling alone – without a parent or guardian accompanying them. There are 11 children under the age of five and four babies under a year now on board.

Since the beginning of the operations in April 2016, MSF teams have rescued more than 12,000 people during 89 different operations.

Read: The LÉ James Joyce has rescued another 108 migrants in the Mediterranean>

Read: Newborn twins among 3,000 rescued from rubber boats at sea>

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