Two humanitarian rescue ships pulled 394 migrants from a dangerously overcrowded wooden boat in the Mediterranean on Sunday night in an operation lasting about six hours, a Reuters witness said.
Sea-Watch 3, a vessel run by German NGO Sea Watch, and Ocean Viking, run by European charity SOS Mediterranee, rescued the migrants in international waters 68 kilometres off the coast of Tunisia, near oil facilities and other ships.
Sea-Watch 3, which assumed command of the operation, took on 141 of the survivors while Ocean Viking took the rest. The yacht Nadir, from the German NGO ResQ Ship, later gave support.
It was not clear if there were any deaths or injuries among the migrants in the wooden boat, where people were crammed on deck and inside the hull.
The craft was taking in water and its engine was not working, the Reuters witness said.
Migrant boat departures from Libya and Tunisia to Italy and other parts of Europe have increased in recent months as weather conditions have improved.
The UN-affiliated International Organisation for Migration reported that more than 1,100 people fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East have perished this year in the Mediterranean.
Many of the migrants in this latest rescue were seen jumping off the boat and trying to swim to Sea-Watch 3, the Reuters witness said.
The migrants were mainly men from Morocco, Bangladesh, Egypt and Syria.