Spanish NGO ship rescues 265 migrants in the Mediterranean

Migrants - Open ArmsPhoto: AP Photo / Joan Mateu
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A Spanish-registered rescue ship is seeking a safe haven for 265 migrants that the crew has rescued in the Mediterranean in recent days.

On Sunday, the aid organization Open Arms tweeted that the ship took in 96 people in international waters the day before. 

None of the migrants were wearing life jackets, and they were drifting around in a wooden boat.

According to Open Arms, most of the passengers were from Eritrea, and two women and 17 minors were among them.

On New Year’s Day, the rescue ship took in 169 migrants and refugees who had left Libya, where many human traffickers operate.

Open Arms’ ship is located 100 kilometers from the Italian island of Lampedusa. It asked permission to dock in Italy on Sunday.

Search and rescue mission

The ship sailed out of Spain just before Christmas on a new search and rescue mission in the central Mediterranean.

Open Arms is among several voluntary aid organizations operating in the Mediterranean. 

Italian authorities are critical of the effort, which they believe increases the likelihood that people will embark on the dangerous journey from North Africa.

The boats that the human traffickers send out are often very fragile and crowded with people hoping to reach Europe to seek asylum. 

While some flee war and persecution, many flee poverty and are denied asylum in the EU.

Italy and Malta have often refused rescue ships carrying migrants to dock and asked other EU countries to share the burden.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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