Survivors, coastguard say dozens of migrants missing off Libya

The Italian coast guard rescued 86 people from the boat hours after it started sinking

The Italian coast guard rescued 86 people from the boat hours after it started sinking

Libyan Brig. Gen. Ayoub Qassim, a spokesman for that country's navy and coast guard, said the migrants' boat capsized and sank in global waters and that the Libyan navy did not have the resources to rush to their rescue.

Rescuers found just 17 survivors clinging on to the boat's wreckage, Qasim said.

African migrants in Libya continue to depart for Europe from the coast, where the IOM is monitoring rescues. "The rest were all missing and unfortunately we didn't find any bodies or (other) survivors", said Nasr al-Qamoudi, a coastguard commander.

According to a statement released by the Navy, 17 immigrants, including women, were rescued off the coast of Khoms city on a rubber boat with a completely crashed base.

Search-and-rescue efforts continued for more than 12 hours in rough conditions, the navy said.

"I feel so disappointed because I could not make it to where I want to go", she said, sobbing.

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"More has to be done to reduce irregular unsafe movements of people along the Central Mediterranean route", he added.

More than 2,000 migrants jammed in 25 boats arrived in Italy June 12, ending an worldwide operation to rescue asylum seekers traveling from Libya.

Since last summer, the number of migrants coming across the Mediterranean has dropped after the Libyan coast guard, trained and aided by the Italian military, started more aggressively intercepting smugglers' boats shortly after they were launched.

There has been a surge in attempted crossings in recent days, with dozens more migrants feared to have drowned over the weekend.

The UN's International Organisation for Migration (IOM) describes the Mediterranean Sea as the world's deadliest border. Some 119,000 migrants arrived that way in Italy in 2017.

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