Woman And Baby Drown, Migrants Missing In Libya Shipwreck

FILE PHOTO: Illegal migrants of different African nationalities arrive at a naval base in the capital Tripoli on April 22, 2018, after they were rescued off the coast of Zlitan from two inflatable boats. PHOTO: MAHMUD TURKIA / AFP










A woman and baby drowned on Sunday off the Libyan coast, while up to 25 migrants remain missing after their engine was stolen and their boat sank, the coastguard said.

Their bodies were recovered while the 73 other migrants were rescued after fishermen alerted the Libyan coastguard, said spokesman Ayoub Kacem.

The group had been left without an engine after it was stolen at sea by unknown assailants, he added.

The dinghy was drifting some 14 nautical miles from Garabulli, east of the capital Tripoli, when it started taking on water and ultimately sank.

Forty men, 25 women, and eight children were saved and taken to a centre in the Tripoli suburbs, Kacem said.

The survivors, some of whom were injured, come from Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, and Sudan.

Between 80 and 100 people were on board the dinghy, leaving up to 25 missing, according to a separate coastguard statement citing survivors’ testimony.

Libya, which has been mired in chaos in recent years, is a key departure point for migrants hoping to reach European shores.

Nearly 20,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, while more than 500 are dead and missing, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

There has been a significant drop in the numbers reaching Italy, following a controversial deal signed with Libya and Rome adopting a hardline migration stance.

Kacem said the “efforts of the Libyan coastguard have allowed a fall of more than 75 percent of the number of departures of migrants” from the country’s shores.

The change has let to “far fewer shipwrecks and victims at sea,” he said.


Hundreds Of Migrants Drowned In Mediterranean Sea

Mediterranean SeaThe Italian coastguard says hundreds of people are feared to have drowned after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.

But after a couple of days at sea, in the dark of night on Saturday, the ship was in distress in the Mediterranean and sent out an SOS.

As rescuers approached, the migrants, perhaps 700 people on board, moved to one side of their boat, hoping to be saved. Their movement caused the large, multilevel boat to capsize, sending the desperate crowd plunging into the frigid water, their chance of survival slim.

While the shipwreck was an accident, human traffickers facilitate risky trips like this, risking people’s lives by putting them on rickety ships in unpredictable waters.

So far, 28 people have been rescued and 24 bodies retrieved.

The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, said the latest sinking could amount to the largest loss of life during a migrant crossing to Europe.

Italian naval and coastguard ships, the Maltese Navy and cargo vessels, along with three helicopters, are all involved in the rescue operation, 130 miles (210km) off the coast of Lampedusa and 17 miles (27km) from the Libyan coast.

Some were rescued on Sunday, said Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration.

Mr Giacomo told CNN that 49 survivors were recovered and being taken to Sicily.

But the Italian Coast Guard, which is leading the rescue operation, reported that 28 survivors and 24 bodies have been recovered so far in the area about 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of Libya.

At least 900 other migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean this year.