The crew of the Geo Barents rescued 71 migrants off a sinking dinghy in the Central Mediterranean | Photo: MSF_Sea on Twitter
The crew of the Geo Barents rescued 71 migrants off a sinking dinghy in the Central Mediterranean | Photo: MSF_Sea on Twitter

The crew of the Geo Barents said it has rescued 71 migrants in the Central Mediterranean. At least one person reportedly died and 22 people remain missing. Meanwhile, the Sea-Watch 4 has been given the green light to disembark more than 300 rescued migrants in Italy; and 59 rescued migrants have left the Louise Michel.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) first announced on Monday (June 27) that its ship Geo Barents had carried out a dramatic rescue, taking 71 people on board, while 22 people remained missing. One women reportedly died shortly after she was rescued.

The organization shared more details on Tuesday, saying that many of the survivors were in need of medical aid, as they presented "seawater ingestion and hypothermia symptoms after many hours in the water." They also said that at least 15% of the people rescued suffered from "from medium to severe fuel burns".

Symptoms like these are common for migrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean from Northern Africa to Europe, as they typically face severe weather, and a lack of food and water, and fuel for the boat engine can cause chemical burns.

Migrants rescued from sinking rubber dinghy

MSF also tweeted that "2 women lost their children and 1 young woman lost her little brother at sea. 3 people had to be rescued with a stretcher as they were unable to walk."

The rubber dinghy carrying the migrants had been damaged and was already filled with water when the rescue crew reached them, Geo Barents crew member Riccardo Gatti told Italian radio station Radicale, according to news agency dpa. Several people were reportedly already in the water and one dead body was carried away by the waves, Gatti recounted.

One baby was found without vital signs, but the crew was able to resuscitated the child, who was later evacuated to Malta with their mother via helicopter, according to Gatti and tweets shared by MSF.

Sea-Watch 4, Louis Michel allowed to disembark in Italy

The Geo Barents is one of several ships run by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Central Mediterranean -- the sea between the north African countries of Tunisia and Libya, and southcentral Europe -- namely Italy and Malta.

The Ocean Viking currently has 156 migrants on board following several rescue operations.

The Louise Michel disembarked 59 rescuees on Lampedusa on Monday night, the crew announced via Twitter on Tuesday.

And the Sea-Watch 4 tweeted Tuesday morning that it had been given permission to land in Porto Empedocle, in southern Italy. The ship has 303 migrants on board who were rescued at least one week prior. Several people had already been evacuated for medical reasons.

There are no rescue services carried out by European states in the region; however, Italy and the EU have a controversial deal with Libyan coast guards and Tunisian authorities, which intercept boats and return migrant groups to their countries.

With dpa


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