Hundreds feared dead as boat sinks off Libya

Libyan navy officials say only 36 people have been rescued so far on vessel carrying up to 250 migrants.

    A boat filled with up to 250 migrants heading for Europe has sunk off the Libyan coast and many passengers have died, a spokesman for the Libyan navy has said.

    Only 36 people, including three women, have been rescued after the boat sunk near Tajoura, east of the capital Tripoli, said navy spokesman Ayub Qassem. 

    "There are so many dead bodies floating in the sea," Qassem told the Reuters news agency, adding that the under-equipped coastguard had few resources to search for survivors.

    Migrants have been streaming out of Libya in boats in rising numbers for years, on their way to Europe.

    So far in 2014, more than 100,000 have reached Italy's shores, the Italian government said this week.

    Human traffickers are exploiting the political chaos and lack of security that has blighted Libya since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising in 2011.

    Qassem said the migrants on the capsized boat were mostly Africans.

    Libya's coastguard mainly exists on paper and relies on fishing boats and tugs it borrows from the oil ministry.

    More than 100 African migrants died in a similar boat accident in August.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.