At Least 20 Migrants Drown off Coast of Libya

TEHRAN (FNA)- At least 20 migrants trying to reach Europe drowned Sunday in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya, a witness said.

The source aboard the rescue ship Phoenix, said he saw 20 bodies while a dinghy was being helped by the crew of the ship, run by the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), the Middle East Eye reported.

The development came as the Italian coastguard and other boats, on Saturrday, rescued around 3,000 migrants from unseaworthy boats off the Libyan coast.

Good weather is encouraging more people to make the journey, an NGO said.

In all, 35 rescue operations were launched during the day, with 15 of them still underway as night fell, the coastguard said, Reuters reported.

German NGO Jugend Rettet, which took part in the rescue operations on Saturday, said 3,000 people had been plucked to safety during a particularly busy day due to the fine spring weather in the Mediterranean.

Jugend Rettet spokeswoman Pauline Schmidt told AFP that a further 1,000 people remained to be rescued from inflatable dinghies and other craft, with the rescue ships reaching capacity. 

Other, mainly non-governmental, boats were expected to arrive in the area to help the rescue operations, she said. “We have never had to deal with so many people at the same time.”

On Friday rescue vessels worked flat out to rescue over 2,000 people from flimsy dinghies.

So far this year 666 people have been logged as dead or missing off the Libyan coast.

Throughout last year more than 5,000 people perished, according to the International Organization of Migration.





Source: fars