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Activists save close to 300 people from unseaworthy boats in the central Mediterranean

A COALITION of activist groups saved the lives of 290 people in the central Mediterranean at the weekend.

On Saturday morning, the Geo Barents, a refugee rescue ship operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), located a rubber boat in distress carrying 81 people in international waters off Libya.

The crew was alerted to the boat by the activist-run distress hotline organisation Alarm Phone. The Colibri 2, a reconnaissance plane operated by French charity Pilotes Volontaires, helped the crew find the boat.

Later that afternoon, the Geo Barents and Colibri 2 crews rescued 81 people from another unseaworthy boat in the same area.

The aircraft located 61 people rescued by SOS Mediterranee's rescue ship the Ocean Viking in the same area on Saturday afternoon.

The rescued joined the 33 others the crew found on Friday night, bringing a total of 128 women, men and children aboard the Ocean Viking.

In a hostile measure, the Italian authorities ordered both ships to disembark the rescued people in ports hundreds of nautical miles away from where the operations took place.

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