The UK Royal Navy rescued over 400 migrants, and the Malta-based private rescue initiative Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) saved 96, in two separate rescue operations off Libya today.
The number of rescued migrants today will rise as MOAS is currently involved in the second rescue, after its ship MV Phoenix was directed to another boat in distress.
Earlier today, the Royal Navy flagship HMS Bulwark was alerted to four craft in potential distress approximately 40 miles off the coast of Libya. Each 30-foot inflatable boat was reported to be carrying approximately 100 migrants, including a number of pregnant women and children.
Landing craft from HMS Bulwark and a Merlin helicopter from 814 Naval Air Squadron were involved in the response.
”Including today’s events the Royal Navy will have rescued about 600 people since starting operations at the beginning of the month,” UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said.
”The ship is providing medical assistance, food, water and dry clothes to those in need and will transfer them safely to land as soon as possible.”
MOAS and Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which provides support to the MOAS mission and post-rescue medical care, have rescued over 800 migrants since the start of their joint operation on May 2.
The rescued migrants will be transported to Italy.