By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 13 May 2014:
A second boat carrying hundreds of migrants en route to Europe from Libya sank in . . .[restrict]the Mediterranean Sea about 70 kilometres north of Sabratha on Monday. At least 14 people died, and more than 200 were rescued by the Italian Navy. The number of those still missing is unclear, as authorities are not sure how many passengers originally boarded the vessel.
On Sunday, the Libyan Coast Guard rescued 51 migrants whose boat sank off the shore at Garabulli and recovered the bodies of 40 others.
The Italian government has criticised the EU for the lack of help it receives in dealing with the issue. It says it spends about €9 million a month in efforts to curb illegal migration and assist vessels in distress around the Italian coast. Yet, according to Italian Interior Ministry statistics, 36,627 migrants had already landed along Italy’s southern coast in the first half of 2014.
Italy has been pleading with the EU for assistance in dealing with this influx. Interior minister Angelino Alfano told , the Italian news agency ANSA: “Europe isn’t helping us. While Italy was saving survivors of the shipwreck, Europe must take care of the living.”
In a statement released yesterday, the European External Action Service (EEAS) expressed deep regret for the large number of migrants who have drowned off the Libyan coast in recent days.
The EEAS also called on the Libyan government to increase its efforts to prevent similar tragedies in the future, and pledged its continued support of Libyan authorities in areas related to migration, including through its mission on Integrated Border Management (EUBAM), where appropriate.
The acting Libyan Interior Minister Saleh Mazegh has taken the view that the tens of thousands of migrants leaving Libya’s shores for Europe are primarily Europe’s problem and on Saturday warned the EU that if it did not take a tougher stand, Libya would open the floodgates to allow Africans to head to Europe. [/restrict]