A 4-day-old baby was one of over 480 migrants rescued by humanitarian ships Saturday during search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean Sea.
The baby was travelling on one of two rubber boats carrying over 200 migrants from North and Central Africa, Sri Lanka and Yemen.
The boats were seen drifting some 22 nautical miles north of the Libyan town of Sabratha, the most frequently used departure point currently used by people smugglers in Libya.
A four day-old baby rescued from the Mediterranean Sea Yannis Behrakis / REUTERS
The flow of migrants braving the Mediterranean Sea has not stopped despite the cold weather due to rumors of a potential crackdown on people-smuggling.
In the past migrant crossings have slowed to a trickle during winter months due to bad weather.
Baby and mother are rescued from the boat Yannis Behrakis / REUTERS
But crossings spiked at the end of last year as word spread that Libya’s coast guard is being trained to stop illicit boats setting sail for Italy, a key gateway for migrants into Europe.
So far 27,850 migrants have made the crossing to Europe by sea in 2017 according to the inter-governmental International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The rescued baby and mother Yannis Behrakis / REUTERS
Just since the end of last year, 635 people have either died or are missing in the Mediterranean.