German rescuers said on Saturday they had saved 128 migrants from an overcrowded boat floating in the Mediterranean after it lost the ability to steer.

The Sea Eye non-governmental organization said that eight young children and 42 women were among the migrants on the inflatable boat. Nine of the women were pregnant.

The motor of the vessel boat had been damaged and it could no longer manoeuvre, the group said.

The group said it would remain in the area, off the Libyan coast, in the expectation that it would have to locate more migrant boats.

Groups like Sea Eye have risked attacks from a Libyan coastguard keen to exercise sovereignty over national search and rescue waters.

The number of undocumented migrants reaching international waters in the Mediterranean from Libya has reduced in recent months.

Many more are now towed back to shore by Libyan authorities in the country, which has been torn apart by a years-long civil war.

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