Published: Sun, May 28, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

IOM: More than 60000 migrants reach Europe by sea in 2017

IOM: More than 60000 migrants reach Europe by sea in 2017

More than 1,400 migrants seeking to get to Italy were rescued off the coast of Libya on Friday, but other vessels were in distress, according to accounts by Libyan and Italian officials. At least 20 boats carrying thousands of migrants on their way to Italy were spotted today off the coast of the western city of Sabratha, the Libyan navy said.

The vast majority of migrants attempting to reach Europe by boat try to cross from Libya to Italy.

The survivors, who included four women and a child, spent two days holding onto what remained of their punctured vessel before they were pulled to safety, said navy spokesman Ayoub Kacem.

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Another group of migrants, whose size was not given, were taken to Zawiya, 50 kilometres (30 miles) to the west, this source said. The patrols continued the search and found a broken boat with 33 migrants on board. That figure is higher than the same period a year ago.

Some 6,400 migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean between Tuesday and Thursday.

People traffickers have exploited the chaos that has ravaged Libya since the 2011 revolution that toppled and killed Moamer Kadhafi to expand their lucrative trade.

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The bodies of 10 migrants who had been traveling by sea from North Africa were recovered in the Mediterranean over the past 24 hours, the Italian Coast Guard said in a statement Saturday.

Libya has urged Europe, and particularly Italy, to supply its coastguard with the equipment it says it needs to monitor its southern borders, through which migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan African, enter the country.

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