Every year, thousands of Libyans travel in a Libyan refugee boat–which are very small boats–risking their lives to make the dangerous passage from North Africa to Europe, and hundreds of men, women and children were feared dead after the capsizing of one of these ships on Saturday about 70 miles north of the Libyan border.
The incident occurred when a Libyan refugee boat full of Libyan refugees got into trouble during its trip in the Mediterranean Sea. It is believed that many of the estimated 700 migrants on board the distress ship rushed to one side as a rescue vessel approached, thus causing it to capsize. Officials from the International Organization for Migration told reporters that only 49 people were pulled from the water as of Sunday.
Reports are conflicting, however, as the Italian Coast Guard reported only 28 survivors and 24 bodies as being recovered. Reports of wreckage and bodies in the waters have shown up on various media, but according to reports, the water there is more than three miles deep, so it’s likely some bodies will never be recovered.
Rescuers Call For Help To Save Libyan Refugee Boat
A spokesperson from Doctors Without Borders spoke out on the disaster and called for a change in current European policies of dealing with the Libyan refugee boats and Libyan refugees, and likens the number of deaths to those that happen in a war zone.
According to their information, Europe has closed its borders due to the 1000s of Libyans on the refugee boats, and now these people are desperately trying to travel somewhere to be safe. He called for European states to start sending out large-scale search and rescue procedures and to patrol as closely as possible to Libya’s border to help save people in an emergency such as the latest capsize.
Hundreds Have Already Died at Sea
According to reports from the International Organization for Migration, over 1,500 Libyan boat refugees have already died in their attempts to travel from North Africa to Europe. Thousands have also been rescued, with the Italian Coast Guard reporting that they had more than 20 SOS calls in a single day in one four-day period.
Authorities are also calling on Northern European nations to join in the assistance for the Libyan boat refugees, as there are estimated to be close to a million migrants desperately seeking a better life in Europe. This latest tragedy happened after a previous shipwreck caused the deaths of more than 450 other Libyan boat refugees who were trying to travel from North Africa to Europe, and that makes the total of deaths more than 1,500 since the beginning of the year.
Life on a boat’s terminal makes for excitement and anxiety as depicted in this short about a ferry terminal, Sadarghat in Bangladesh: