MARSEILLE: Crew members of the Ocean Viking humanitarian vessel on Saturday rescued more than a hundred migrants off the Libyan coast, the European NGO running the boat said. "Today, #OceanViking rescued around 106 children, women & men from an overcrowded dinghy that had run into trouble in international waters around 34 nautical miles from #Libya," SOS Mediterrannee tweeted.
"A person who was unconscious was evacuated to the ship and is recovering. Several survivors are in great emotional distress," the Marseille-based NGO said.
An official for SOS Mediterrannee told AFP that the rescued migrants included 31 men, eight women and 67 children, of whom 51 were unaccompanied. On Thursday, Ocean Viking had already rescued 10 people, including three children and a baby suffering from dehydration. They are now all out of danger, the official said. During its first winter mission in January and February, the vessel rescued around 800 people. Another rescue ship run by the Spanish NGO Open Arms has also taken to the seas. Libya has become a key route for irregular migration to Europe in the chaotic years since the 2011 overthrow and killing of dictator Muammar Qadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising. While many migrants have drowned at sea, thousands have been intercepted by the Libyan coastguard and returned to Libya.