Rome, 1 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) — The crews of several private sea rescue organizations saved hundreds of migrants in the central Mediterranean Sea on Sunday.
In the early morning hours, the Ocean Viking and Sea-Watch 3 vessels took on board about 400 people in an hours-long operation, the aid groups behind the missions said.
The crews of the two ships had already rescued people from distress at sea earlier this week.
The sailing boat Nadir of the German organization RESQSHIP was also involved in the latest rescue.
According to SOS Mediterranee, which operates the Ocean Viking, the rescue occurred in Tunisian waters. The migrants were on a multi-deck wooden boat when the charity vessels came to their aid.
After earlier rescue operations over the weekend, the Ocean Viking alone now had almost 450 people on board.
Berlin-based organization Sea-Watch called the current situation on the Mediterranean “extremely critical.”
From the coasts of Libya and Tunisia, migrants repeatedly board boats to reach European Union countries via the central Mediterranean. The crossing is dangerous and the overcrowded barges often get into distress at sea.
According to figures of the United Nations, 930 migrants have died in the central Mediterranean this year.
The private rescue organizations criticize that the migrants are repeatedly intercepted by the coast guards of the countries and taken back to Libya, for example, where they are threatened with violence.