SOS Méditerranée’s sea rescue vessel, the Ocean Viking, rescued 70 migrants on Sunday. They were aboard a deflated rubber boat in international waters off Libya. “A Libyan patrolman arrived during the operation and approached the scene, causing panic,” the NGO explained.
All passengers, including 17 unaccompanied minors, were taken care of by the ambulance ship, co-chartered with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). In photos posted on Twitter, the majority of the migrants on board were huddled men, most of whom were not wearing life jackets, or with just a makeshift device.
The central Mediterranean is the most dangerous migration route in the world, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The UN agency estimates that more than 23,500 the number of dead and missing since 2014, including 2,048 last year.