Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Nearly 100 migrants feared missing after boat sinks off Libya: Coastguard

Nearly 100 migrants feared missing after boat sinks off Libya: Coastguard

The migrants had been trying to cross from Libya into Italy in 16 rubber dinghies and three wooden boats, but encountered rough seas and hard conditions.

He said the Libyan coastguard had rescued a further 23 migrants of various African nationalities just under 10 kilometres (6 miles) off the coast of Tripoli.

Desperate refugees struggled to stay afloat after they slid off their rubber boat during a rescue operation by the Phoenix, a ship of the rescue group Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).

SOS Mediterranee, which operates the Aquarius jointly with MSF, posted a video showing women singing with happiness after their rescue.

As part of 16 rescue operations, conducted jointly with a number of charities, a total of 2,074 migrants have been saved and one dead body has been found, the Italian Adnkronos news agency reported. DARRIN ZAMMIT LUPI/REUTERS Migrants rest on the deck of the Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) ship Phoenix, April 14, 2017.

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Leggeri recently said that NGOs rescue operations were "supporting criminal networks" of smugglers and traffickers.

This latest operation was set in motion on Friday in collaboration with the Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and has so far rescued 2,074 people crossing the Strait of Sicily - the channel of water separating southern Italy from the North African coast.

European Union border control agency Frontex has accused donor supported ships off the coast of Libya of acting "like taxis" for migrants and doing more harm than good.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, almost 32,000 asylum seekers arrived in Europe by sea so far this year.

"Many more people could have died in a day like this if we arrived a few hours later". More than 650 have died or are missing.

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