Migrant Crisis: Baby Is Born Aboard MSF Rescue Boat Aquarius in Mediterranean

Image: A baby boy born in the Mediterranean
A baby boy born on the rescue ship Aquarius in the Mediterranean Sea after his family's migrant boat was rescued after leaving Libya.Alva White/MSF

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By Alexander Smith

More than 3,000 migrants have died on the perilous journey across the Mediterranean this year, but on Monday the crossing gave life: to a baby boy.

The humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders said the chubby-cheeked "little guy" was born aboard its rescue ship Aquarius on Monday.

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His Nigerian parents — Otis and Faith — had left Libya in an overcrowded rubber boat 24 hours earlier in an attempt to reach Europe.

Faith was already having contractions when they were picked up by Aquarius, Doctors Without Borders said.

"I was very stressed on the rubber boat, sitting on the floor of the boat with the other women and children," Faith told the organization, which is also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). "Panicking that I would go into labor, I could feel my baby moving. He would move down and then move back up again. I had been having contractions for three days."

MSF Midwife Jonquil Nicholl helped deliver the baby and called the process "a very normal birth in dangerously abnormal conditions," according to a statement issued by the organization.

"I am filled with horror at the thought of what would have happened if this baby had arrived 24 hours earlier," she said. "In that unseaworthy rubber boat, with fuel on the bottom where the women sit, crammed in with no space to move, at the mercy of the sea."

Otis and Faith were with rescued along with their two existing sons, 7-year-old Victory and 5-year-old Rollres, MSF added.

Their rubber vessel was one of two intercepted by the Aquarius on Monday that led to the rescues of 253 migrants and refugees in total, according to MSF. Among them were 97 people under the age of 18 — including 84 traveling without a parent or guardian.