At least three undocumented migrants drowned after their boat sank off Libya’s coast in the Mediterranean Sea, an official said Friday, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
Capt. Ayoub Qasim, a spokesman for the Libyan navy, told Anadolu Agency that coastguard teams recovered the bodies of three migrants off the coast of the capital Tripoli.
Sixteen others were rescued, Qasim said, adding more than a hundred migrants were missing.
The boat, which was carrying around 120 migrants, was old, overloaded and the weight was piled up at the stern due to a crack in the fore, Qasim said, citing the reasons why it sunk.
The undocumented migrants were Yemeni, Egyptian, Sudanese, Moroccan, Ghanaian, Nigerian and Zambian nationals, he added.
On Monday, the Libyan Coast Guard announced that a boat carrying undocumented migrants had sunk off the country’s coast.
Around 785 migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea this year while trying to sail to Europe, according to the UN Migration Agency (IOM).
According to the Libyan navy, 16,000 undocumented migrants were rescued in 2017.
Ever since the collapse of the central authority in Libya in 2011, the country’s northwestern coast has become a hub for illegal migration to Italy and other countries in Europe.
Libya represents a major transit point for African migrants seeking access to Europe, especially Italy.