CAIRO — 15 migrants hoping to reach Europe drowned in the Mediterranean Sea when their boat capsized off the coast of Libya, the U.N. migration bureau said Wednesday, the most recent shipwreck from the North African nation.
The ship departed in the western city of Zawya Sunday night, also capsized 18 miles (29 kilometers) from the shore, she explained.
The shipwreck was the newest maritime crisis involving migrants looking for a better life in Europe. Over 70 others were intercepted and returned to Libya from the coast guard Tuesday, based on Federico Soda, head of the IOM mission in Libya.
So much in 2020, over 200 migrants have escalated and above 280 others went missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, according to the IOM’s Missing Migrants Project.
In recent years since the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, war-torn Libya has emerged as the transit point for migrants expecting to Europe from Africa and the Middle East.
Many migrants make the dangerous journey in ill-equipped and dangerous rubber boats. The IOM stated in March that its estimated death toll among migrants who attempted to cross the Mediterranean handed the”grim milestone” of 20,000 deaths because of 2014.
In the last few decades, the European Union has partnered with the coast guard and other Libyan forces to block the stream of migrants and tens of thousands are intercepted at sea and returned to Libya.
Rights groups say these attempts have left migrants at the mercy of brutal armed teams or restricted in squalid and overcrowded detention facilities that lack sufficient water and food.
The EU agreed earlier this year to finish an anti-migrant smuggler operation between just surveillance aircraft and rather deploy military boats to focus on sustaining a broadly flouted U.N. arms embargo that is deemed crucial to resolving Libya’s battle.