That fishing boat “was in danger, due to the bad weather conditions at sea and due to the elevated number of persons on board," the Coast Guard said. After being rescued by two motorboats, they were transferred to a larger Coast Guard vessel.
The statement described the rescue of the larger number of migrants as “complex." Four cargo ships in the area were pressed into service to “mitigate the impact of the wind” on the rescue operation, it said, allowing the migrants to be safely rescued.
Each year, thousands of migrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia attempt the deadly Mediterranean sea crossing to Europe on overcrowded and often unseaworthy boats. More than 1,300 men, women and children have died so far in 2021 trying to cross the Central Mediterranean from Libya and Tunisia to Italy and Malta according to IOM.
Follow all AP stories on global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration.