TRIPOLI: At least 30 people died Thursday when a boat carrying around 200 migrants bound for Europe sank in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya, the country s coast guard said.
“We have recovered 30 bodies so far and rescued dozens of people, with dozens more still missing after a boat carrying around 200 migrants sank off (the western port of) Zuwara,” a coast guard official told AFP.
The migrants so far accounted for were all of African origin, the official said, adding that rescue efforts were ongoing but would be “intensified” on Friday morning.
“We are working with very limited resources. Most of the boats we use are fishing boats that we borrow from their owners,” he said.
The sinking comes a day after at least 55 bodies were discovered on three overcrowded migrant boats, 52 of whom were found in the hold of one wooden vessel off Libya s coast.
Wednesday s gruesome discovery was made by a Swedish coast guard vessel whose crew plucked hundreds of other migrants from the waters off the North African nation.
People smugglers have taken advantage of the chaos gripping Libya since the 2011 uprising toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi to step up their lucrative business.
But the Mediterranean crossing is treacherous, and more than 2,300 migrants and refugees have died trying to reach the European Union this year alone.