Roughly 280 African migrants making their way to Eastern Europe were rescued by the Libyan Navy after a boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. 100 are still missing and there is grave concern for their lives. The rescued migrants were handed over to the local immigration authority.
Migrants ride a boat after they were rescued by the Libyan coastguard (July 2017), Archive Photo Credit: EPA
At least 279 African migrants were rescued at sea by the Libyan Navy, while there is grave concern for the lives of about 100 people who are still missing, Libyan authorities said in an official statement. The migrants were making their way to Eastern Europe on several overcrowded boats via the Mediterranean Sea when the boats capsized.
It seems that the missing migrants were all inside the same boat. Search and rescue forces have been operating for more than 12 hours under harsh conditions in order to locate the missing migrants. All those who were rescued, including 19 women and 17 children, were transported to a naval base in Tripoli and were later handed over to the local immigration authority.
The UNHCR estimates that more than 3,100 migrants died in 2017 while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The high death toll is most likely due to the smugglers packing as many people as possible onto the poor-quality boats.
As reported in November 2017 by JOL, a UN report released that month stated that the attempt to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe is “by far the world’s deadliest” journey for migrants. Between 2000 and 2017, 33,761 migrants were reported to have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean as they attempted to reach Europe.