Rome, Aug 2 (EFE).- The crew of the Astral sailboat of Spanish NGO Open Arms overnight rescued 67 people in the Central Mediterranean, including a woman in labor.
“Last night Astral rescued two small boats in danger, with a total of 62 people, including several medical cases and a woman in an advanced state of pregnancy and in labor,” the organization said on its social media networks on Thursday.
The Astral, which usually helps migrants in danger at sea until they are rescued by a more suitable vessel, received instructions in this case to take the 67 on board to the Italian island of Lampedusa, the closest territory to the African coast.
“They were able to disembark in Lampedusa around 3am where they received medical attention,” it added.
Sources from the NGO told EFE that when the Astral arrived in Lampedusa, the woman had not yet given birth and her condition was not known.
On Tuesday, the sailboat helped 40 migrants on a boat without a motor until they were rescued by the Italian authorities, whom the organization had alerted to the situation.
Open Arms said Wednesday that it had received threats from Libyan militias while they were on the way to help 100 people aboard two boats.
“When our tug was about to arrive, we have seen a Libyan militia boat in the area. They had set fire to a boat and threatened us to leave the area,” the NGO said.
“We have only been able to see the smoke in the air and verify once again what is the real interest of the Libyan militias financed by the EU: to prevent boats in distress from receiving rescue, to intimidate people and pushback to Libya.”
Hours earlier, the Open Arms boat rescued another 24 people on a precarious boat.
It also denounced that the Italian authorities had assigned them the port of Civitavecchia, northwest of Rome, for disembarkation – “more than three days of navigation from the rescue area.”
According to the latest data from the Italian Ministry of the Interior, so far this year to Aug. 2, 89,427 migrants have disembarked on Italian coasts, more than double the 42,198 in the same period of last year. EFE