At least 170 African migrants have disappeared Friday in the sea off the Libyan coast after sinking the boat they were traveling to Italy, in a new drama of illegal immigration. The Coast Guard located the remains of the wooden boat about 60 miles east of Tripoli. The bodies of 15 people have already been recovered from the water. 16 migrants were rescued.
” We’re looking for 170 passengers of a wooden boat that sank Africa in the sea near the city of Guarabouli “, said Agence France Presse official Coast Guard Libya, Abdellatif Mohamed Ibrahim.
“We found a few miles from the coast the remains of a wooden boat they were traveling about 200 immigrants,” he added. Other sources quoted by EFE news agency put the number of people in the boat sunk 300.
Since early this year, Italy has helped more than 101,000 immigrants, of which over 65,000 were rescued by the Italian Navy, officials said. Moreover, from the beginning of the operation Mare Nostrum, 109,000 immigrants have required help from the Italian authorities and 71,000 of them were rescued by the Navy.
The Mare Nostrum rescue device was approved last October, after 366 people were killed after their boat wrecked a few miles from the island of Lampedusa, in Southern Italy.