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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Spanish NGO rescues more than 200 migrants off Libya's coast

More than 200 migrants were rescued by a Spanish aid agency after being found drifting off the coast of Libya on Saturday (April 1).
In the early morning hours crew members aboard the 'Golfo Azzurro', the rescue vessel of the Spanish aid organisation Proactiva Open Arms, spotted two rubber boats overcrowded with migrants floating at sea 22 nautical miles north of the Libyan town of Sabratha.

A rescue operation was launched and a rescue speedboat was sent to the area. Rescuers distributed life jackets to the migrants before tugging one of the rubber boats to 'Golfo Azzuro', a former fishing trawler. The rescued migrants were mainly from Ghana, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the aid organisation said, and included 20 women and one four-days-old baby from Nigeria. The migrants will be taken to the port of Pozzallo in Sicily.

On March 23 five migrants were pulled dead from the sea off the coast of Libya in another rescue operation by the same organisation. So far this year nearly 650 migrants have died trying to reach Italy from North Africa, the International Migration Organization (IOM) estimates, after some 4,600 deaths last year. Libya has asked the European Union to provide it with ships and radars to help its forces stop the smuggling of migrants across the Mediterranean, sources in Brussels said on Thursday (March 30).


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