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AP PHOTOS: Last day at sea for migrants rescued off Libya

ABOARD THE OCEAN VIKING (AP) — More than 180 men, women and children arrived in Italy this week after being rescued off the shores of Libya as they attempted to reach Europe in small boats that had little chance of making it across the Mediterranean Sea.

An Associated Press reporter embedded on the humanitarian ship Ocean Viking documented their journey. On the last day at sea, some of the migrants agreed to pose for portraits inside a container-turned-shelter as sunlight spilled in through the door.

There was the Oyedele family from Nigeria, who got separated while attempting to cross the Sahara desert. Nelson Oyedele said he had to pay a ransom to smugglers to get his wife and four children back.

There were men traveling alone, like Abdul Kerim, who wants to reconnect with relatives in Germany and hopes one day to bring his wife and son from Togo to Europe. There were young couples, like Malamin Baragie of Gambia and Rose Monembem of Cameroon, who fled together after his Muslim family did not approve of his union with the Christian woman.

There was also Ange, a newborn rescued from an overcrowded wooden boat. His mother, Prudence Aimee, said the boy was just 3 days old when the smuggler called to say the boat was ready to leave. She wrapped the baby in a blanket, dragged along his brothers, aged 1 and 3, and took the only chance she saw for a better future for them.

Her family portrait is incomplete, though. Her husband remains trapped in Libya.

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