On Saturday, 4,500 people have been rescued off Libya’s coast in twenty-one rescue operations, Italian coastguards told AFP. One of the groups taking part in the rescue missions said that the boats were carrying Eritreans, Nigerians, Somalis, Libyans, Syrians and West Africans.
The 21 rescue operations took place approximately 30 – 40 nautical miles off the Libyan Coast, the rescue workers tried to save as many people as possible. The vessel, which played one of the larger roles in the rescue missions was the MSF’s Bourbon Argos, an Italian military ship, it is believed that this large ship had packed migrants on to reach capacity. A spokesman of the MSF said “It’s quite a big boat, but at the moment every inch of deck space is covered. People are extremely relieved to be off of their sinking boats,”
Another ship that played a large role was the British Royal Navy ship, the HMS Enterprise, it rescued almost 400 migrants. The British Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon said, “Once again, our Royal Navy has rescued a large number of migrants from the Mediterranean Our focus remains on smashing the criminal smuggling gangs who are putting innocent lives at risk. HMS Enterprise is well equipped for that task, as is the frigate HMS Richmond, which we have also now offered to the mission.”
However, many people remain sceptical on these rescue missions, the leader of Italy’s anti-Immigrant Northern League Party Matteo Salvini, said that the high number of rescue missions encourages more migrants to cross the Mediterranean.