The German migrant rescue organisation Sea Eye is adding a further ship to its fleet as the numbers of people trying to reach Europe via unseaworthy vessels continues to climb.
The vessel, Sea Eye 4, is currently in port in northern Germany and will begin work as soon as possible, the group announced on Sunday.
“We just need a lot more rescue ships,’’ spokesman Gorden Isler told dpa, adding that the additional vessel brings the total number of charity rescue ships operating in the central Mediterranean Sea to seven.
However, the vessels, including Sea-Eye’s Alan Kurdi, are frequently blocked because the Italian coastguard impounds them for alleged technical irregularities, Isler said.
Financing from the project has largely come from the United4Rescue alliance based in the German city of Hanover, Sea Eye says.
The announcement comes as the number of migrants attempting the treacherous sea crossing to Europe, particularly along the route from Libya to Italy, is once again on the rise.
On Thursday at least 74 people drowned when their vessel sank off the coast of the North African country, the UN’s International Organisation for Migration said.
The previous day, Open Arms rescued more than 110 people in distress off the Libyan coast. Six people were killed in the incident, among them was a baby.
The IOM says 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean this year.
Eleven thousand migrants have been returned to Libya, where they are at risk of violence and exploitation.