An “unprecedented” number of people tried to cross the Mediterranean over the Easter weekend this year, a migrant charity has said.
The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) said they went to the aid of between 1,500 and 1,800 men, women, and children on seven rubber and two wooden vessels over the weekend, picking up 453 on their own ship and providing life jackets and other provisions to around 1,000 more.
Meanwhile, in the central Mediterranean, MOAS reported 2,074 rescues conducted by “various search-and-rescue (SAR) assets on Friday, including 134 rescued by the Phoenix”.
The charity said the situation had been a “24 hours marathon of continuous rescue operations” in what was “set to be the latest marker in the record-breaking escalation of this on-going humanitarian crisis at sea”.
Christopher Catrambone, the group’s founder, said: “Nobody has ever seen anything like what we are witnessing this weekend.
“It is a miracle that we have managed to rescue everyone with no casualties today.
“We are still conducting operations with a new boat contact spotted early this morning.
“The professional conduct and tireless efforts of our crew are to thank for the many lives saved today.”
So far this year, some 29,000 migrants have arrived in Italy alone after being picked up by European ships and private charity vessels, with numbers expected to rocket as weather conditions improve during spring.
The figures will cause concern that Europe’s migrant crisis will intensify once again this coming summer, as hundreds of thousands pour into the continent, putting European nations and institutions under increasing pressure.
Breitbart London reported at the end of last month how migrant deaths in the Mediterranean have spiked by 42 per cent so far this year compare to this time last year.
Deaths in the Mediterranean have even accounted for more than half of all migrant deaths worldwide in 2017, which totalled over 1,000 by the end of March.