The humanitarian rescue vessel Open Arms picked up 158 migrants in two rescue operations off the coast of Libya overnight. Since Thursday, three NGO ships have rescued nearly 640 people. Over 400 migrants on board the Ocean Viking will be allowed to disembark in Taranto, Italy.
The Spanish NGO Open Arms said on Twitter that it had taken on board
56 people during a first rescue operation late Monday evening. The migrants
were travelling in international waters and the operation was completed after the
Open Arms boat's engine was "provisionally repaired".
A few hours later the rescue vessel took on board another 102 migrants from a boat in distress. According to Open Arms, it saved them from "probable death".
🔴 #ULTIMAHORA<...;— Open Arms (@openarms_fund) January 28, 2020
Finalizado de madrugada 2o rescate de una barca en peligro con 102 personas en aguas internacionales.
A bordo #OpenArmsSomos el único barco humanitario en la zona y casi 500 esperan puerto seguro
There are currently three humanitarian rescue vessels in the Central Mediterranean carrying nearly 640 migrants: The Ocean Viking with 403 people, the Alan Kurdi with 77 people and the Open Arms with 158 people. All the rescues took place between Thursday last week and Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday the Ocean Viking was given permission to dock in Taranto, Italy to disembark 403 migrants – 216 men, 38 women and 149 children. Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which operates the ship with SOS Mediterranee, had picked up 407 people off the cost of Libya in five separate operations since Friday. Three children and their mother, who had received severe burns, were evacuated by helicopter on Monday, the German press agency dpa reports.
Despite harsh winter conditions, the number of migrant boats in the Mediterranean has increased significantly since the start of the year. The distress hotline Alarm Phone said it had received alerts from 9 boats in distress with around 650 people on board in the past five days alone.