At least 73 migrants presumed dead after shipwreck off Libyan coast

At least 73 migrants are reported missing and presumed dead following a tragic shipwreck off the coast of Libya on Tuesday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Wednesday.

The boat, carrying around 80 people, reportedly left Qasr Alkayar, a Libyan coastal town overlooking the Mediterranean Sea located approximately 75 kilometers (about 46.6 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, on Feb. 14, heading to Europe.

“Seven survivors who made it back to Libyan shores in extremely dire conditions are currently in the hospital,” IOM spokesperson Safa Msehli said in a statement.

So far, 11 bodies have been retrieved by the Libyan Red Crescent and local police.

“This latest tragedy pushes the number of deaths in the central Mediterranean route to over 130 deaths so far this year,” she said.

In 2022, more than 1,450 deaths were recorded by the IOM Missing Migrants project.

“The central Mediterranean remains the world’s deadliest migratory sea crossing, claiming the largest number of lives each year,” according to the IOM.

“This situation is intolerable,” said Msehli

The IOM says concrete action by states is needed to increase search and rescue capacity, establish precise and safe disembarkation mechanisms, and safe and regular migration pathways to reduce dangerous journeys.

Since the ouster and killing of strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011, Libya has become a key transit country for migrants.

Source: Anadolu Agency