Aboard the Topaz Responder (CNN)I'm aboard a boat run by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station that rescues migrants in distress in the Mediterranean Sea.
Rescues at sea: Saving migrants from disaster
They are people from all over Africa, the Middle East and even far-away nations like Bangladesh. They hope to escape conflict or persecution in their homelands and make better lives for themselves in Europe.
But many travel in inflatable rubber crafts or rickety wooden boats that are overcrowded and not equipped to make the long journey from North Africa across the vast sea. This year alone, nearly 3,000 never made it to Europe; they perished in deep waters.