A crew member from the German NGO migrant rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 distributes life jackets to migrants during a rescue operation in waters off the coast of Tunisia. /Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Three NGO ships have rescued more than 400 migrants from a crammed wooden boat in the Mediterranean on Sunday, in an operation that lasted around six hours.
According to a witness quoted by Reuters, the dangerously crowded vessel was taking in water and the engine had stopped working when the migrants were rescued by the three humanitarian ships in Tunisian waters.
The German Sea-Watch 3 and the French Ocean Viking pulled 141 and 253 people each out of the wooden boat, and were later supported by the yacht Nadir, from the German NGO ResQ Ship.
It was the fifth rescue operation for Ocean Viking, NGO SOS Mediterranee's ship, since Saturday alone. The NGO said its ship now has "449 survivors onboard in total."
A migrant swims towards the German NGO migrant rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 after jumping off the overcrowded wooden boat. /Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi
NGO SOS Mediterranee says they've rescued more than 30,000 people since February 2016. /Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi
The migrants were mainly men from Morocco, Bangladesh, Egypt and Syria.
The number of migrants attempting to journey across the Mediterranean have increased during the summer with better weather conditions. But according to the UN-affiliated International Organization for Migration, at least 1,146 people fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East died in the first six months of this yeartrying to cross to Europe.
Cover image: Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi