German humanitarian organisation Sea-Watch reconnaissance aircraft Sea Bird 2 on Sunday filmed a boat in distress in the central Mediterranean with hundreds of people on board.
A tweet posted by Sea Watch says on Easter Sunday their reconnaissance aircraft found 19 boats in distress in the Mediterranean.
On Sunday night, Alarm Phone had received a call from a boat with about 400 people in distress who departed from Tobruk, Libya.
The German NGO aircraft also filmed two merchant ships, the Pericles and and the FMT Urla, sailing in the vicinity of the fishing boat. According to Sea-Watch the two merchant ships were ordered by Malta to not conduct a rescue operation, but only supply the boat with fuel.
After the alert, the Sea-Bird 2 found the fishing boat sailing in precarious conditions and overcrowded with migrants.
In another incident, at least two migrants died and about 20 others were missing after their boat sank in the Mediterranean between Tunisia and Italy, German aid group ResQship said on Monday.
ResQship said its rescuers arrived in the area of the wreck on Saturday and found about 25 people in the water, who had been there for two hours already.
In the last few days, thousands of migrants have reached the tiny island of Lampedusa, which lies only about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from the Tunisian coast.
The numbers have dwindled of those reaching Italian shores after voyages on unseaworthy boats launched by traffickers, usually based in Libya or Tunisia. That is compared to just a few years ago, hundreds of thousands were rescued at sea.
According to Interior ministry figures, over 14,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since the start of the year – almost three times that in the same period in 2022