Boat capsizes near Libya; 24 migrants drowned


The U.N. migration agency said Tuesday that a boat carrying migrants bound for Europe capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya, leaving at least two dozen people drowned or missing and presumed dead, the latest shipwreck off the North African country.

Safa Msehli, a spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration, told The Associated Press that Libya’s coast guard intercepted three boats on Monday, and one of them had capsized.

She said the coast guard retrieved two bodies, and survivors reported 22 others were missing and presumed dead.
At least 45 survivors on the three boats were returned to the shore. All migrants were men, with a majority from Egypt and Morocco, she said.

Survivors and other intercepted migrants were taken to a detention center in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, Msehli said.
“This new tragedy signals yet again the need for increased search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean. Instead, we see restrictions on NGOs and long, unnecessary stand-offs,” Msehli said.

The shipwreck was the latest maritime disaster involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Msehli said last month, more than 350 migrants died in the central Mediterranean this year.