'Mother ship' traffickers arrested off Libya

Italian navy says 16 human traffickers aboard so-called "mother ship" were arrested in international waters off Libya.

    'Mother ship' traffickers arrested off Libya
    Italian navy rescued hundred seventy six Syrian migrants on Saturday [FILE: Reuters]

    The Italian navy has arrested 16 human traffickers aboard a so-called "mother ship" in international waters off Libya.

    The ship was located some 500 kilometres southeast of Sicily, near Libya, the navy said on Sunday.

    Submarine surveillance ahead of Saturday's raid was "of particular importance, notably for gathering proof" against the traffickers, the navy said in a statement.

    The fishing boat served as a staging area from which the traffickers dispatched their clients -- Syrian migrants seeking asylum or a better life --  aboard smaller, often rickety vessels to destinations in southern Europe.

    The boat had been under surveillance, including by drones, hi-tech radars, night-vision equipment and the submarine, under stepped-up operations launched after two shipwrecks last month claimed some 500 lives.

    On Saturday, the navy rescued 176 Syrian migrants from one of the boats dispatched by the "mother ship", it said.

    The navy said the "mother ship" itself had sunk after it took on water while being towed towards an Italian port.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    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.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?