Healthy baby is born in international waters, just 24 hours after his Nigerian family was rescued from overcrowded boat.
A healthy baby boy has been born to Nigerian parents on board a rescue boat in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea, according to the medical charity Doctors without Borders (MSF).
Newman Otas was delivered on Monday by an MSF midwife on the MV Aquarius vessel, just 24 hours after his parents Otas and Faith and their two elder sons were rescued from an overcrowded rubber dinghy.
"A very normal birth in dangerously abnormal conditions," said Jonquil Nicholl, the midwife. "I am filled with horror at the thought of what would have happened if this baby had arrived 24 hours earlier."
Faith, the baby’s mother, said she had been having contractions for three days.
"I was very stressed on the rubber boat, sitting on the floor of the boat with the other women and children, panicking that I would go into labour," she said.
"I could feel my baby moving; he would move down and then move back up again."
The Aquarius, hired by MSF and SOS Mediterranee, a civil society group working to rescue at-risk refugees at sea, picked up 392 people on Sunday, including women and small children.
Among those saved, 55 people on board were under 18, 141 of them travelling alone without a parent or guardian accompanying them. MSF said.
In total, more than 1,100 people were rescued off the coast of Libya on Sunday by Italian coastguard and naval vessels, a British and an Irish warship, and several ships chartered by humanitarian NGOs, the Italian coastguard said.
Those saved on Sunday had left Libya aboard eight overloaded inflatable dinghies and two fishing vessels, they said.
According to Italy’s interior ministry, about 124,500 migrants have arrived since the start of 2016, just slightly more than the 122,000 recorded for the whole of last year.
Italy is sheltering growing numbers of would-be refugees as its neighbours to the north move to tighten their borders and make it harder for migrants to travel to their preferred destinations in northern Europe.
According to interior ministry figures released earlier this month, Italy now has 155,000 migrants in reception centres, compared with 103,000 in 2015 and 66,000 in 2014.
- Newman Otas was born on the MV Aquarius vessel