"We must continue to call on European governments to act so that people, such as those rescued by us today, do not die, not in Libya nor in the Mediterranean Sea", said Regina Catrambone, Moas co-founder and director.
- MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) April 14, 2017Many more people could have died in a day like this if we arrived few hours later. The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) said in a statement they "believe there have been deaths", but it is not clear how many people have drowned.
MSF used its two ship - Aquarius and Prudence - to rescue about 1,000 people in nine boats but video footage showed chaotic scenes as migrants clung on to rafts or slipped into the water.
The rescue ships will transport the migrants to southern Italian ports.
A day earlier, the Italian coastguard had carried out 19 rescue operations aided by NGOs, including the medical charity Doctors without Borders.
More than 2,000 people were rescued on Friday and 3,000 on Saturday in dozens of separate rescues, the Italian Coast Guard said.
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The migrants are being transported to Italy.
The International Organization for Migration says almost 800 migrants died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in the first three months of 2017.
The EU border agency Frontex saved more than 1,400 migrants in 13 rescue operations, while private humanitarian organizations were involved in the remainder in coordination with the Italian navy.
The first boat, carrying 41 men and 11 women of sub-Saharan origin, was located by rescue teams shortly after midnight in the Alboran Sea east of the Strait of Gibraltar. As maximum capacity was reached, life jackets, basic provisions and supervision were then administered to the more than 1,000 people who remained stranded on unseaworthy vessels.
The voice that is often missing from the discussion is often that of the migrants themselves. When asked if the charity boats made a difference in their decision to make the unsafe crossing, they had no idea what was meant by the question.