It was another busy weekend for migrants trying to escape their surroundings.
Overnight on Sunday two humanitarian rescue ships pulled 394 migrants from a dangerously overcrowded wooden boat in the Mediterranean. The German and French NGO ships Sea-Watch 3 and Ocean Viking rescued the migrants in Tunisian waters 42-miles from the North African coast, near oil facilities and other ships.
Sea-Watch 3, which assumed command of the 6-hour operation, took 141 of the survivors while Ocean Viking took the rest. The yacht Nadir, from the German NGO ResQ Ship, gave additional support as required.
The migrant’s craft was taking in water and its engine was not working. It’s not clear if there were any injuries or deaths among those onboard the wooden boat, which was crammed both on deck and inside the hull.
In this latest rescue, many of the migrants who were mostly men from Morocco, Bangladesh, Egypt and Syria, were seen jumping off the boat and trying to swim to the Sea-Watch 3.
Departures of migrant boat from Libya and Tunisia have increased in recent months as weather conditions have improved. Favoured destinations tend to be Italy and other near-by parts of mainland Europe, but their journeys have been at a cost. According to the UN-affiliated International Organisation for Migration, more than 1100 people fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East – have perished in the Mediterranean this year.