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Ocean Viking is seeking a safe port for 223 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean

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A rescuer waits for orders from the Ocean Viking in the Mediterranean Sea, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.
A rescuer waits for orders from the Ocean Viking in the Mediterranean Sea, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/ Renata Brito   -   Renata Brito
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A humanitarian ship that rescued 223 migrants - including pregnant women and children - in the Mediterranean was waiting for a safe port to disembark on Sunday.

Ocean Viking, chartered by SOS Mediterranean in partnership with Doctors Without Borders, rescued the migrants during several operations off the coast of Libya.

The most recent rescue took place overnight of Saturday in the Malta Rescue and Research Area (SAR), where 72 migrants were found on board an overcrowded boat.

Since the summer of 2018, Libyan coast guards have been charged by Europe to coordinate rescues in a vast "search and rescue area" beyond their territorial waters.

But according to SOS Mediterranean, Libya is unable to carry out the rescues because of the country's ongoing civil war.

In 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded 1,283 deaths in the Mediterranean.

The central route between North Africa and Italy still is the most deadly. At least 19,164 migrants have perished in the waves in the past five years.