(Reuters) – An American naval vessel went to the aid
of a rubber boat that was sinking off the coast of Libya, rescuing 41 people
and collecting 12 bodies, a humanitarian group said on Tuesday after its ship
was contacted by radio to help out.
U.S. navy vessel Trenton called the German Charity Sea Watch, which operates
the only charity rescue ship currently on patrol off the Libyan coast, to alert
them to the shipwreck and ask for assistance, a spokesman for Sea Watch said.
Dutch-flagged Sea Watch 3 ship was en route to rendezvous with the Trenton,
said spokesman Ruben Neugebauer. It was not yet known how many people were on
the boat before it started sinking.
rescue assets at sea,” Neugebauer told Reuters. The Aquarius rescue ship will
be gone for some 10 days as it takes migrants to Valencia, Spain, after it was
refused a port in Italy or Malta.
shipwreck shows that we are needed,” he added, saying the American vessel
probably called Sea Watch because “there’s just nobody else out here. We’re the
only asset at the moment.”
was no immediate comment from the U.S. Navy.