The aid organization Doctors Without Borders has rescued more than 300 migrants in the Mediterranean. In two operations within twelve hours, the volunteers first got around 300 people from an overcrowded wooden boat onto their ship "Geo Barents". Shortly thereafter, the crew rescued another 36 people, as the organization announced on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
Among the rescued are three pregnant women and 80 minors, including two newborns. The refugees and migrants were discovered and received in the Maltese search and rescue zone, it said.
Civilian sea rescue organizations such as Doctors Without Borders are regularly deployed in the central Mediterranean, where they fetch migrants from boats that are often unseaworthy and overcrowded. The NGOs accuse Italy and Europe of not operating a state sea rescue service on that dangerous route.
Most boats and migrants that come close to the Italian coast under their own power are taken over by the Coast Guard and brought ashore. Rome complains that it is largely left alone with the many thousands of migrants and calls for a European initiative together with North African states so that people there do not even get on boats.