More than 15,000 people have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea and reach Europe since the migrant crisis exploded in 2014. Most now attempt the crossing in flimsy, overloaded rubber boats. In September, French reporter Raphaël Krafft boarded the Aquarius – a rescue ship run by Doctors Without Borders and another nongovernmental organization, SOS Méditerranée – to witness a rescue about 25 miles off the coast of Libya.
A rubber boat carrying about 130 people was sinking, but the Aquarius couldn’t approach. Another boat had arrived first: one from the Libyan Coast Guard. With just two crewmen, each brandishing an assault rifle, this vessel aimed to take the migrants back to Libya, where they could be imprisoned or worse. After a tense standoff, the Aquarius rescued every person on board.