By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 15 September 2014:
The Libyan Coast Guard has found another capsized vessel off the coast east of Tripoli . . .[restrict]on Sunday, surrounded by the floating dead bodies of what is believed to be between 160 and 200 people, all believed to be from sub-Saharan Africa.
Rescuers were able to pull 36 people to safety, including three women, one of which was pregnant. The survivors were rushed to the hospital for treatment.
The tragedy happened in the sea near Tajoura, one of the main points of departure for illegal migrants attempting the crossing to Europe.
With migrants paying locals as much as $1,000 each to be taken to Italy, transporting them is big business in some of Libya’s smaller ports.In some cases. It allegedly involves the complicity of local officials, making it all the hard to stop in the present chaotic circumstances.
The boat which sank was believed to have 250 people on board.
Spokesman for the Libyan Navy Qasim Ayub has complained that the Libyan Coastguard lacks the resources necessary to rescue the large number of illegal migrants whose unseaworthy vessels into which they have been crammed, sometimes capsize.
For its part, 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. Now in the middle of September, the Italians are saying that more that 100,000 people have reached its shores this year.
The European External Action Service (EEAS) has called on the Libyan government to increase its efforts to prevent similar tragedies in the future, and has pledged its continued support of Libyan authorities in areas related to migration, including through its mission on Integrated Border Management (EUBAM), where appropriate.
Also addressing the crisis, a Malta-based philanthropist couple has responded to the October Lampedusa shipwrecks that killed around 700 illegal migrants en route to Europe largely from Libya by funding and commissioning their own private rescue boat and crew, Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).
Working in cooperation with Italy’s Mare Nostrum mission, the 40-metre vessel has already helped in the rescue of six migrant boats carrying some 1,500 migrants crossing from Libyan shores. [/restrict]