Italian rescue ships save about 2000 migrants


Rescue workers are battling to save as many as 1,800 migrants stranded on boats off the coast of Libya.

An earlier agency report said 20 bodies had been found by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (Moas), but this was later corrected.

In one operation, it rescued 134 people, all from sub-Saharan counties, he said. "In 2017, the sea continues to be a graveyard", it said.

Italian NGO Sea Eye and the German group Jugend Rettet were also aiding in the rescue efforts.

Migrants on a wooden boat are rescued by the Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) in the central Mediterranean in global waters off the coast of Sabratha in Libya on April 15.

The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) boats Prudence and Aquarius rescued some 1,145 people from nine different dinghies in non-stop operations.

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The number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean is down from its peak in 2015 with almost 32,000 migrants estimated to have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year.

The civil guard based on the island of Mallorca said their ships had found two boats with 14 men each both on Thursday and Friday. It reported having as many as seven pregnant women on board.

The journey from Libya across the Mediterranean to Italy is now the main route to Europe for migrants.

"Frontex Director says it's a paradox that a third of rescues are done by NGOs. We know we need to be out there, we have to be out there".

On Wednesday, a 10-year-old girl and two adults died when their boat capsized while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. "Hour 40 of ongoing rescues & crisis management for #Phoenix crew". When asked if the charity boats made a difference in their decision to make the risky crossing, they had no idea what was meant by the question.

"This, combined with the lack of adequate European Union search, and rescue operations has meant that MSF and other humanitarian organisations have - in an unprecedented move - been forced to step in to avoid further loss of life".