9 January 2018

Africa: 64 Feared Dead As Trafficking Boat Sinks in Mediterranean

As many as 64 migrants are feared dead when rescuers found an overcrowded trafficker's boat sinking off the coast of Libya, officials said Monday.

The Italian coast guard rescued 86 of the nearly 150 people traveling on the boat through the Mediterranean on Saturday. Eight bodies, all women, have been recovered thus far.

"According to testimonies gathered by @OIMItalia staff in Catania, the rubber dinghy, at the moment of the departure, was carrying 150 migrants," Flavo Di Giacomo, the spokesperson for the International Organization of Migration (IOM), said on Twitter Monday.

The boat was initially spotted by a plane from a European naval mission to combat trafficking on Saturday.

The IOM has called the Mediterranean the world's "deadliest border," having recorded 2,832 migrants perished in 2017, and 4,581 in 2016 trying to reach Italy from North Africa.

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