German and French NGO ships Sea-Watch 3 and Ocean Viking rescued migrants in Tunisian waters 68 km (42 miles) from the North African coast near oil and other installations on Sunday night. ships.
Sea-Watch 3, which took command of the operation, took 141 of the survivors while Ocean Viking took the rest. The yacht Nadir, from the German NGO ResQ Ship, subsequently provided support.
It was not clear whether there had been any deaths or injuries among the migrants who were in the wooden boat, which was filled with migrants on the deck and inside the hull.
The craft was taking on water and its engine was not running, a Reuters witness said.
NGO ships had already rescued people in distress at sea earlier this week. After previous rescue operations over the weekend, the Ocean Viking alone had around 555 people on board as of Sunday evening.
The ship is now very full and must find a safe port as soon as possible, a spokesperson said, noting that a three-month-old baby was among those rescued.
The Berlin organization Sea-Watch described the current situation in the Mediterranean as “extremely critical”.
Sea-Watch 3 was also carrying dozens of people. Six were taken ashore by the Italian Coast Guard due to their poor health.
On Sunday, the ship carried away another 26 people, bringing the total number on board to around 250.
Migrant boat departures from Libya and Tunisia to Italy and other parts of Europe have increased in recent months due to improving weather conditions.
According to the United Nations-affiliated International Organization for Migration, more than 1,100 people fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East have died this year in the Mediterranean.
The crossing to reach the countries of the European Union via the central Mediterranean is dangerous and overcrowded ships often find themselves in distress at sea.
Many migrants from the latest rescue were seen jumping from the boat and trying to swim to Sea-Watch 3, the Reuters witness said.
The migrants were mainly men from Morocco, Bangladesh, Egypt and Syria.
Private relief organizations criticize the fact that migrants are repeatedly intercepted by countries’ coast guards and brought back to Libya, for example, where they are threatened with violence.