A Spanish rescue vessel saved nearly 400 migrants from the Med in a single weekend – including over 100 women and children on a stranded fishing boat.
The ship – belonging to the Spanish Open Arms Proactiva NGO – collected 372 migrants from desperately unsafe boats.
The Open Arms Uno vessel performed three rescues in 24 hours after sailing from the city of Syracuse, on the Ionian coast of Sicily, Italy on Monday, 12th September.
In its largest operation, the charity ship which is currently sailing under the Spanish flag picked up a total of 294 people from an overcrowded barge in waters south of Malta.
The migrants among which 43 women and 60 children were reportedly stuck in a smugglers’ boat out on the open sea and were seeking to find shelter.
The individuals who were predominantly Egyptians had reportedly been at sea for four days before they were recovered on Sunday, 18th September.
They were spotted while waiting for help by volunteer pilots looking for people in distress.
Officials reported that most of them suffered severe dehydration and were in need of medical attention.
A few hours earlier the Open Arms Uno rescued 59 people among which 10 children from Syria, Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea from an oil platform near Tunisia.
Among those rescue crews also found the body of a dead person who was allegedly shot by smugglers.
Open Arms spokesperson Laura Lanuza said: “The smugglers forced the people to take the corpse with them.
“They spent a day or so at sea, and kept the corpse until they were saved.”
Another 19 people from a rubber dinghy off Libya in international waters including 16 Syrians were rescued on Saturday morning, 17th September.
Open Arms Uno currently remains at sea with two pending requests for a safe port in Malta.
Another rescue vessel belonging to SOS Humanity and carrying 415 migrants with an urgent need for a “safe port” awaits in the central Mediterranean.