More than 200 boat migrants have been rescued in the central Mediterranean Sea, in several operations by the organizations Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and ResQ.
The crew of the Geo Barents vessel took almost 190 people on board, MSF announced in the early hours of Monday. The migrants had been on an overcrowded wooden boat. According to the report, there was a lack of oxygen below deck. More than 210 people were now on board the Geo Barents, it added.
On Sunday, the volunteers of the private Italian organization ResQ saved dozens of people in several operations, the group said. Among the refugees were many women and minors.
The crew of the ResQ People vessel had around 165 people on board after the rescues and were demanding a safe harbour to let the people go ashore.
Most migrants set off from the coasts of Libya and Tunisia to reach the European Union via the Mediterranean.
Italy saw a doubling of the number of migrants reaching the Mediterranean country in boats within a year, according to its Interior Ministry.
Between August 1, 2020, and July 31, 2021, authorities registered a total of 49,280 people arriving on Italian shores. This represented an increase of 128 per cent year-on-year from 21,616.
A total of 147 traffickers were arrested, an increase of 25 per cent.