A humanitarian organization known as Sea-Watch has said its sip on the Mediterranean sea has rescued no less than 450 migrants in five operations over the Christmas period.
The Sea-Watch 3, owned by a German charity, initially rescued nearly 100 migrants from sinking boats in the Mediterranean overnight on Thursday with reports of severe “fuel burns” that were caused by exposure to gasoline mixed with seawater.
Late on Thursday, an additional 33 migrants were rescued from two boats which had been intercepted by the Libyan coast guard, according to the NGO.
In a second operation at dawn on Friday, the same boat rescued over 60 people from an overcrowded wooden boat within the Libyan search and rescue zone.
Migrant boat departures from Libya and Tunisia to Italy and other parts of Europe have increased in recent months with better weather.
According to the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration, more than 1,100 people fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East have perished this year in the Mediterranean.