Alarm Phone, a charity that picks up calls from migrant vessels in distress, said on Friday that about 50 people who set sail on a boat from Libya are at risk of drowning in international waters.
The relief group noted that it is in contact with the migrants, after their engine stopped working.
The migrants reported that water was entering the boat. It said it has informed the Libyan authorities, and requested a quick rescue operation.
“Alarm Phone is in contact with a group who escaped from Libya. The engine stopped working & the boat is adrift. People say water is entering the boat. We alerted authorities & demand a fast rescue to a place of safety!” Alarm Phone tweeted.
Earlier this month, a boat carrying hundreds of migrants capsized, resulting in the death of 78 individuals, in a tragic event off the coast of Greece. This devastating incident ranks among the most severe maritime catastrophes in Greece’s history.
The Italy-bound boat is believed to have departed from Tobruk, in eastern Libya. The Italian Coast Guard first alerted Greek authorities and Frontex about the approaching vessel.
The rescue operation, orchestrated on a grand scale, engaged a multitude of resources. These included local harbor police vessels, a frigate from the Greek navy, an air force aircraft and helicopter, and six other ships that were in the vicinity at the time.
According to a recent report from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Libya registered the highest number of migrant fatalities on terrestrial routes across North Africa in 2022.
This troubling statistic underscores the perilous journey many migrants undertake, with Libya’s position as a significant transit country toward Europe adding to the risk.
In western Libya, authorities have raided migrant hubs in the capital, Tripoli, and other towns over the past few weeks. At least 1,800 migrants were detained and taken to government-run detention centers, according to the UN refugee agency.