(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Close to 100 refugees are likely to have drowned after another ship capsized in the Mediterranean Sea just off Libya’s shore, according to a report released on Thursday by the BBC.
The Bourbon Argos, a rescue vessel run by the medical group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), was able to save 27 survivors and recover seven bodies from the sunken boat.
This week’s migrant death toll at sea now stands at more than 340 people, according to Malta-based charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).
The actual death toll cannot be confirmed as there are no records indicating how many refugees were on the boats that capsized, which mean the death toll is likely to be much higher.
So far this year, 4,300 refugees died on their way to Europe from North Africa. The number, which is higher than last year’s death toll, is likely to significantly increase by the end of the year.
Rescue missions on the Mediterranean are conducted by MOAS, MSF, the Libyan coast guard and naval and coast guard vessels of other European countries.
Human smugglers have taken advantage of Libya’s political instability that got out of control following the Libyan uprising that began in February 2011. Smugglers are over crowding fragile dinghies with refugees desperate to flee war, corruption and poverty in hopes of finding a better life in Europe.
Italy has received at least 167,000 refugees so far this year, which is more than the number of refugees that arrived to Italy last year.