German NGO Sea Watch rescues 147 migrants off Libyan coast

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German charity Sea-Watch said Saturday it had saved nearly 150 migrants off the Libyan coast in two operations.

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Its Sea-Watch 3 rescue ship picked up 102 migrants on Saturday morning from a rubber dinghy in trouble, the organization said on Twitter.

The previous day the vessel had rescued 45 migrants, including 15 minors.

The Sea Watch 3 has rescued over 3,000 migrants in distress in the Mediterranean Sea since 2017, the NGO said.

The central Mediterranean migration route is known as one of the world’s deadliest.

UN agencies say about 160 migrants and refugees have died so far this year trying to reach Europe from North Africa.

Despite unabated violence in Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, the country remains an important transit point for migrants fleeing instability in other parts of Africa and the Middle East and seeking to reach Europe.

International agencies frequently denounce the return to Libya of migrants intercepted at sea due to the chaotic situation in the country and poor conditions in detention centers.

More than 1,200 migrants and asylum-seekers died while crossing the Mediterranean in 2020, according to the International Organization for Migration.

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