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26.07.2019 Libya

Off Libyan Coast... Boat Accident On Mediterranean Sea Possibly Causing Over 115 Death

Off Libyan Coast, More than 115 feared dead Off Libyan Coast, More than 115 feared dead

People on their way from Libya to Europe: In a shipwreck, an organization anticipates more than 115 deaths.

While the EU is fighting over the distribution of refugees, the next tragedy takes place in the Mediterranean: 250 migrants start the dangerous crossing there - almost half are now missing after a serious accident.

After a heavy boat accident off the coast of Libya 115 migrants are missing. A spokesman for the Libyan Coast Guard said Thursday, fueling fears over the deaths of dozens of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) could have died significantly more people in the disaster. It would be the worst boat accident in the Mediterranean this year.

The Coast Guard said it had rescued 134 migrants from various African and Arab countries with some fishermen. In addition, a body had been recovered from the water. A total of 250 people were on board the wooden boat, which was started in the coastal town of Al-Chums, said Marine spokesman Ajub Kassim the German Press Agency. According to IOM, it was unclear whether the migrants were traveling on one or two boats. According to the organization, up to 300 people could have been in distress. Late in the evening, IOM announced that 87 migrants had been returned to the Libyan coast. 84 of them were taken to the Tadzhura detention center.

"Heaviest tragedy in the Mediterranean"
The head of the UN refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, spoke on Twitter of the "heaviest tragedy in the Mediterranean" of the current year. He called for a resumption of the sea rescue operation, the cessation of internment of refugees and migrants in Libya, and more safe routes out of the country. "Otherwise it's too late for many more desperate people," Grandi wrote.

The United Nations was "very worried" about the continuing dangers and lack of security for those on the high seas. All countries in the region would have to ensure that those who put their lives at risk would be protected, said a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Unicef ​​boss Henrietta Fore called the news of the disaster "terrible". She called for a resumption of life in the Mediterranean and for the internment of refugees and migrants in Libya. "Given the recurring cases of abuse, violence and death, no child should be accommodated in these centers," said Fore. "If we do not do something urgently, we'll always see children who lose their lives on these crossings," warned Fore.

Currently, no private rescue ships in the Mediterranean are on the way. However, the German organization Sea-Eye announced on Thursday, with the "Alan Kurdi" in the direction of the rescue zone off the Libyan coast break. She is expected to arrive there Tuesday, said the Regensburg organization. Within the European Union there is a dispute over how to distribute migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. According to the military, 76 migrants arrived in Malta after being rescued south of the island republic.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Italian Chamber of Deputies gave the go-ahead for a bill that would allow maritime rescuers in the country to face fines of up to one million euros if they illegally sail their ships into Italian territorial waters. The new law will also allow the authorities to confiscate the ship in case of a breach of an import ban. This will further increase the pressure on relief organizations rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.

The Mediterranean is one of the most dangerous escape routes for people who want to come to Europe. Trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, more than 680 people lost their lives this year, according to IOM data. More than 3,700 were taken and sent to internment camps in Libya. The North African state is a transit country for thousands of migrants.

Francis Tawiah (Duisburg - Germany)

Francis Tawiah
Francis Tawiah, © 2019

This author has authored 584 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: FrancisTawiah

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