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Saturday 20th September 2014
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Boat With 170 Migrants On Board Sinks Off Libya

Saturday, 23rd August 2014 12:12

A wooden boat with around 170 African migrants on board trying to reach Europe has sunk off Libya, a Libyan navy spokesman said.

"The coast guards have rescued 17 of the illegal migrants," said navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem.

A search for the rest of the passengers is continuing, he added.

The wooden vessel sank in rough seas on Friday near Qarabouli, east of Tripoli.

A coast guard official told Reuters they had been alerted to the sinking boat by local fishermen at dawn on Saturday.

The coast guard had no equipment to carry out the rescue so had to borrow fishing boats to try and save those on board the sinking vessel.

The official said the people who had been rescued had been released as there was nowhere to detain them.

The number of migrants leaving North Africa in rickety boats has been on the rise for years.

In 2014 so far, more than 100,000 migrants have reached Italian shores, said the Rome government this week.