Over 60 migrants are feared dead as a boat carrying about 86 people sank in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya’s coast, the International Organization for Migration confirms.
The IOM confirms that there were approximately 86 migrants aboard, including women and children from Nigeria, the Gambia and other African countries when it left from Zuwara, on Libya’s northwest coast.
It attributed the cause of the incident to towering waves, creating turbulence that overwhelmed the vessel.
The Mediterranean is infamous for its notorious waves exceeding conventional rogue thresholds. However, it is a principal route for migrants moving from Libya and Tunisia in hopes of getting to Europe, via Italy.
The IOM also confirmed that 25 people were rescued from the capsized boat and transferred to a Libyan detention centre, where they were “provided medical support” and in “good condition.” The fate of others on the boat is still unknown.
The tragic incident is only another of many as several such incidents have been recorded this year. Flavio Di Giacomo, an IOM spokesperson, wrote on X, Saturday that more than 2,250 people died this year on the central Mediterranean migrant route, which The United Nations has described as the world’s deadliest.
Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s far-right Prime Minister had vowed to stop illegal migration after winning the elections last year. However, the country has been infamous as a fertile ground for human traffickers who have been accused of abuses ranging from extortion to slavery.
Reports from the Mixed Migration Centre reveal that Italy hosts the second-largest group of Nigerians in Europe (after the UK) with approximately 119,000 Nigerians on its territory as of 2022, and is “the most important destination for Nigerian victims of trafficking.”