European Union leaders hail migrant plan as 100 more feared dead at sea

01 July, 2018, 19:48 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Migrants

More than 100 migrants are feared to have drowned off Libya's western coast after their overloaded boat capsized, coastguard officials said on Friday. It was unclear when the smugglers' boat had left for the unsafe trip to Europe or where they left from. Migrants try to cross to Europe through Libya by the sea route usually in flimsy inflatable boats provided by smugglers while some make it to worldwide waters where they hope to be picked up by global vessels, but are mostly picked up by Libya's EU-backed coastguard and are returned to Libya.

The motor caught fire and water began to enter the vessel, they said.

Close to 10,200 migrants have been taken back to Libya so far in 2018, Petre said.

EU President Donald Tusk warned there was no guarantee it would work, while France and Austria ruled themselves out of hosting migrant centres.

EU leaders announced an agreement on migration on Friday, after meeting at the European Council summit in Brussels. A similar vessel capsized this week off the coast of Libya, killing an estimated 100 migrants. Gatti said that he would continue to rescue migrants at sea, following global law.

"Libya, with its weak central government and proximity to Italian territory, is increasingly becoming the preferred option for many refugees despite the dangers involved in crossing the Mediterranean Sea", reported Al Jazeera.

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The poorly-equipped Libyan coastguard were forced to abandon most of the bodies of migrants who died in Friday's shipwreck "for lack of resources", a coastguard captain said.

Their rubber boat was rickety and overcrowded, he added. It was unclear when they embarked on the perilous trip for Europe or from where they had set off.

The proposed "regional disembarkation platforms" would be in North African nations such as Libya, with the aim of breaking the business model of human traffickers who ship migrants across the sea to Europe.

Friday's tragedy transpired in the wake of a compromise worked out by European Union leaders over the issue of migration.

Leonard Doyle, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, said it was "very pleased at the solidarity and consensus" that emerged from an European Union summit in Brussels, in particular with the "front line states" like Italy.

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