Libya coastguard rescues 150 Europe-bound migrants off Tripoli
Libya's coastguard rescued at least 150 migrants who were trying to reach Europe on Monday after their inflatable boat had engine problems and began to sink, a navy spokesman said.
Tripoli: Libya's coastguard rescued at least 150 migrants who were trying to reach Europe on Monday after their inflatable boat had engine problems and began to sink, a navy spokesman said.
The migrants, mostly Africans and including two women and four children, were spotted off the coast of the capital Tripoli.
A coastguard patrol was informed that a boat had run into trouble around seven nautical miles offshore and a rescue mission was launched, Colonel Abu Ajela told AFP.
A witness said people traffickers had taken the migrants out to sea and left them there after removing the engine on the inflatable boat and replacing it with another that quickly broke down.
The migrants were brought ashore to a naval base in Tripoli where authorities gave them food, water and medical assistance before handing them over to a detention centre.
Human traffickers have exploited years of chaos in Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi to boost their lucrative but deadly trade.
Tens of thousands of migrants have resorted to paying people smugglers to enable them to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to what they hope will be a better life in Europe.
Since January, more than 1,00,000 migrants have made the perilous voyage, with around 85,000 arriving in Italy from Libya, according to the International Organization for Migration.
This year some 2,360 people have drowned in the attempt, the IOM says.
A Kerala nurse and her son were killed in a shell attack on their residence in Libya's Sabratha city, officials said on Saturday.
British foreign minister Boris Johnson came under fire for saying Libya could become a magnet for tourists and investors: If it can "clear the dead bodies away" first.
At least 58 migrants, including many children, perished in the Mediterranean last week trying to reach Italy, while 100 more are still missing, according to new figures published by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday.