The Libyan Red Crescent in Tripoli announced that eight people died, and 92 others were rescued after their boat capsized off the Libyan coast.
Bodies washed ashore near the Libyan town of Garabulli, 40km east of Tripoli. This is part of a growing number of deadly shipwrecks that have killed scores of migrants, according to Reuters. Red Crescent workers in protective clothes were seen laying the bodies of the drowned into bags by the portside.
According to the Red Crescent, eyewitnesses said nearly 150 people had packed onto the boat, in hopes of reaching Italy.
Libya is a major departure point for people seeking to cross the Mediterranean, given its proximity to Italy and its own porous borders. However, immersed since 2011 in its own conflict, and with much of the country controlled by armed militias, Libya has become dangerous for migrants and refugees.
Last week, Italian Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani said that resolving the problems of illegal immigration and energy in Europe is linked to resolving the crisis in Libya.
The Italian news agency, Nova quoted Tajani stressing “the need to reach a solution to the election crisis in Libya.” He noted that this could be achieved by reaching an agreement between the Libyan “overlapping” parties.
Notably, an Italian Coast Guard official has stated that 53,000 migrants arrived in Italy by sea, from Libya in 2022. This is an increase of 70% compared to 2021, according to the AKI news agency.
This was stated by Admiral Giuseppe Aulicino, Head of the Plans and Operations Department of the General Command of the Italian Coast Guard. He told a hearing of the Constitutional Affairs and Transport Committees that NGO ships operating on the Cyrenaica-Lampedusa line had rescued more than 11,000 people, 34% of whom departed from western Libya.
He noted that a total of 105,000 migrants arrived by sea in 2022, an increase of 56% over the previous year. 1,401 of them departed from Algeria, and 32,000 from Tunisia, an increase of 60% compared to 2021.
According to the official, there are two flow lines from Libya: the Tripoli region in the West, where 33,000 migrants departed, and the Cyrenaica region in the East, where 20,000 migrants departed. As well as 17,000 migrants coming via the eastern Mediterranean route (Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria).