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Boat overturns near Libya, 24 migrants assumed dead, says UN

By Suvan Bose

On Tuesday, the UN migration agency said that a boat carrying migrants compelled for Europe overturns in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya, leaving at least two dozen people missing or drowned and assumed dead, the latest shipwreck off the North African country.

Safa Msehli, a spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration, said The Associated Press that Libya’s coast guard stopped three boats on Monday, and one of them had overturned. She said the coast guard found two bodies, and survivors reported 22 others were missing and assumed dead. At least 45 survivors on the three boats were gone back to the shore. All migrants were men, with most of them from Egypt and Morocco, she said.

This new tragedy indicates yet again the desire for raised search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean. Rather than, we are facing restrictions on NGOs and long, irrelevant stand-offs, Msehli said. The shipwreck was the most recent maritime disaster including migrants pursuing a better life in Europe.

In August, a boat carrying dozens of migrants overturned leaving at least 45 people drowned or missing and assumed dead, marking the highest number of deaths in a single shipwreck off the coast of the North African country.

Libya, which went down into chaos after the 2011 insurgence that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, has arisen as a major transportation point for African and Arab migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe.

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