3,000 migrants rescued off Libya – Italy coastguard

The rescue was undertaken in 22 separate operations coordinated by the Italian coastguard

Agence France-Presse

12:0:59am March 20, 2017

12:0:59am March 20, 2017

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

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