Italy recovers refugee ship that sank off Libya

Boat sank off Libyan coast last year with 700 people on board but hundreds of bodies are yet to be recovered.

    The boat is believed to have flipped when refugees scrambled to attract a nearby ship [File:Italian Navy/Reuters]
    The boat is believed to have flipped when refugees scrambled to attract a nearby ship [File:Italian Navy/Reuters]

    The Italian Navy has recovered a ship that sank off the coast of Libya last year with hundreds of people on board.

    Up to 700 refugees were believed to be on the vessel when it went down in the first half of 2015 while on its way to the Italian island of Lampedusa.

    Rescuers recovered some bodies after the incident but hundreds of others remained unrecovered in the Mediterranean Sea. 

    The UN refugee agency at the time said that the boat flipped when those on board scrambled to attract the attention of a passing ship.

    Tens of thousands of people from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East use maritime routes connecting the African continent to European islands in the Mediterranean. 

    Thousands of refugee deaths

    With 3,771 deaths, 2015 was the deadliest year on record for those crossing the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration.

    In 2016 the number of deaths stands at more than 2,500 people, UNHCR said.

    Refugees pay thousands of dollars to people smugglers to get on to the boats, which are often overcrowded, low on supplies, and not fit to travel long distances.

    Last year more than a million people made their way to Europe by sea from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

    Many were fleeing war and political oppression, while others sought better economic prospects.

    Number of child refugees crossing into Europe swells

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.