NEW ARRIVALS. In this file photo, migrants and refugees arrive at the Trapani port, with the Aquarius vessel on July 22, 2016 after being rescued at sea. Stringer/AFP
ROME, Italy – Around 3,000 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya on Sunday, March 19, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, the Italian coastguard told Agence France-Presse.
"After some calm days, migrants are arriving in large numbers, taking advantage of a window of favorable weather," said a coastguard official.
The rescue was undertaken in 22 separate operations coordinated by the Italian coastguard.
One participant was the Aquarius, a humanitarian ship run by the NGO SOS Mediterranean and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which said it saved 946 people, including 200 unaccompanied minors.
An MSF video showed 3 young children smiling and dancing on the ship to the sound of drumming.
The migrants rescued by the Aquarius had been found drifting on 9 wooden and rubber boats.
According to the Italian government, 16,206 people have been rescued in the sea by Friday, March 17 – compared to 11,911 by the same time last year. – Rappler.com