Migrant bodies received off Libya


The Libyan coastguard recovered bodies of 11 migrants who died off Libya’s western shore during an attempted crossing to Italy, a spokesman said.

More than 80 migrants survived the incident off Sabratha, west of Tripoli and coastguards brought them back to Zawiya, said naval coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem.

The migrants were from various sub-Saharan African countries, he said.

A second boat, carrying 200 migrants including 38 women and a child, was intercepted off Zliten, east of Tripoli, Qassem said. As well as African migrants, the vessel was carrying Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indians.

Libya is the most common departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea. More than 600,000 crossed the central Mediterranean to Italy in the past four years, the vast majority from Libya.

Since last July there has been a sharp drop in crossings as Libyan authorities backed by Italy pressured local groups to stop smuggling and supported Libya’s coastguard to intercept those who do leave.

European powers have pushed to reduce flows into Libya from the south and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has flown 25,000 migrants from Libya back to their home countries since the start of last year.

Some 5,330 migrants crossed from Libya to Italy between January 1 and April 20 this year, about 85% lower than the same period last year, according to Italy’s interior ministry.