Migrant Boat Capsizes off Libya, 24 Presumed Dead
Two people are known to be dead and 22 others are presumed to have died after a boat carrying African migrants headed to Europe capsized in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya. The vessel was one of three intercepted on Monday by the Libyan coast guard, according Safa Msehli, spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration, a United Nations agency. She added that people aboard the other boats said 22 individuals were missing. In all, some 70 people, all men and most hailing from Egypt or Morocco, were aboard the three vessels. “This new tragedy signals yet again the need for increased search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean. Instead, we are seeing restrictions on NGOs and long, unnecessary stand-offs,” Msehli said, according to the Associated Press. Libya is a staging point for African migrants intent on starting a new life in Europe, mostly due to the relatively short distance involved but also because the North African country is busy with a civil war. Many of the vessels that embark on the journey are said to be barely seaworthy, and more than a few have capsized or sank, killing hundreds of people over the past couple of years.