Rome: The aid ship Sea-Eye 4 has rescued about 330 migrants attempting to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in the past few days, according to the private vessel’s German operator on Monday.
The latest rescue operation conducted overnight brought 99 people on board, most of whom said they are from Syria, Sea-Eye said on Twitter, dpa reported.
The crew was now nearing “the limit” of their capacities to care for the rescuees, Sea-Eye wrote.
The Sea-Eye 4 set out last last week and has been picking up migrants travelling on boats unfit for the high seas.
Among the people brought aboard the vessel at the weekend were children, an 8-month-old baby and a pregnant woman, the group said.
The ship, refitted in the northern German port city of Rostock and belonging to the association founded in Regensburg, Bavaria, in 2015, had started its mission to rescue distressed migrants in the central Mediterranean Sea at the beginning of the month.
The mission is supported by United4Rescue, the Alliance for Civilian Sea Rescue, and the aid organization German Doctors.
According to UN figures, more than 500 people have died so far this year until the beginning of May trying to cross the central Mediterranean to Europe, usually departing from Libya and Tunisia and aiming for Italy.
The private sea rescuers criticize the Libyan coast guard for intercepting boat migrants and bringing them back to the war-torn country, where they are threatened with human rights violations.
Politically, however, the rescue operations of the private organizations are controversial, with some claiming they encourage the illegal smuggling of people across the Mediterranean.
Source: National News Agency