Date
11 December 2016
Migrants wait on a rescue boat. They are the lucky ones. The rate of recorded deaths in the Mediterranean has risen sharply this year, with more than 3,740 migrants drowning on their way to Europe. Photo: Reuters
Migrants wait on a rescue boat. They are the lucky ones. The rate of recorded deaths in the Mediterranean has risen sharply this year, with more than 3,740 migrants drowning on their way to Europe. Photo: Reuters

Dozens of migrants missing after boat sinks off Libya

Dozens of migrants are believed missing after their boat sank off the coast of western Libya.

Coast guards had rescued 29 of the more than 90 missing migrants about 26 miles off the shore east of Tripoli, Reuters reports, citing spokesman Ayoub Qassem.

Survivors said 126 people had been on the rubber boat before one of the sides was ripped and it started taking on water.

Libya is the main departure point for mostly African migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Smugglers arrange ill-equipped and overcrowded vessels that frequently break down or sink.

Qassem said the boat that sank on Wednesday had left at dawn from Garabulli, about 50 km. (31 miles) east of Tripoli.

“Because of overcrowding one of the sides of the boat got torn and water leaked in,” he said.

“Ninety-seven illegal migrants are still missing or they have drowned.”

The rate of recorded deaths in the Mediterranean has risen sharply this year, with more than 3,740 migrants drowning on their way to Europe. That nearly matches the toll for the whole of 2015, the report said.

The route between Libya and Italy has become the busiest crossing point after a deal between Turkey and the European Union in March largely closed off pathways to Greece.

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