A fortnight ago, the crew of the Dutch NGO boat, Sea Watch 3, saved 165 people on board a rubber vessel north of Libya.
The refugees, who had fled Libya and were trying to reach European shores, included eight children and 28 women, three of whom were pregnant.
Libya’s coast is a staging post for tens of thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East trying to make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
By the end of its mission, Sea Watch 3 had saved more than 400 people from possible death by drowning or cold.
Sea Watch arrived at the Port of Messina in Italy after several days at sea, where Italian authorities took charge of the refugees and migrants.
The day after the Sea Watch 3 rescue on January 17, a Spanish rescue boat saved 265 people, also in the Mediterranean.
A total of 2,583 migrants and refugees have reached Europe by sea so far in 2018, according to the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
It said 199 people died attempting to cross the Mediterranean between January 1 and January 17.
Less than half the arrivals, or 1,093 people, were registered in Italy, 847 in Greece and 653 in Spain.