AT least 100 bodies of drowned migrants have washed up on a Libyan beach after a boat capsized in the latest disaster in the refugee crisis, BBC, The Sun report. The corpses were pulled from the Mediterranean Sea near the western city of Zuwara today, said Colonel Ayoub Gassim.
He blamed Europe for “doing nothing but counting bodies” to stop migration from Libya. His harsh words came as Greek authorities confirmed 302 refugees were rescued from another capsized boat carrying 700 people off the island of Crete today.
Three bodies have already been found – but hundreds are still missing. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said: “Over 250 people have been rescued from a shipwreck off Crete which is believed to have left Africa with at least 700 migrants on board.”
Any confirmed deaths would be the first fatalities in Greek waters since April. So far this year, more than 40,000 migrants have paid people smugglers to help them cross the Mediterranean from North Africa to Italy.
Shockingly, more than 1,000 people have drowned in sinkings between Libya and Italy in recent days alone. It’s been suggested those in charge of the ships are using a new route to avoid NATO ships. The recent warm weather and calmer seas is also thought to have triggered an increase in the number of migrants making the often doomed journey.
A coastguard spokeswoman said: “People are in the water, boats crossing the area have thrown lifebuoys and are moving to save the migrants.” Hundreds of asylum seekers have drowned in various disasters in the Mediterranean Sea recently. There are fears that the EU-Turkey deal – which sees migrants detained on Greek islands – is forcing desperate migrants to find longer and more dangerous journeys.
Many migrants are now landing in Italy after crossing the Central Mediterranean from North Africa. In the latest disaster, Libyan coast guards found the second empty boat on Thursday but it’s believe it may have capsized earlier in the week. A passing ship is thought to have spotted the sinking vessel about 75 nautical miles south of Crete, which is Greece’s largest island in the southern Aegean Sea.
Two patrol boats, a plane and a helicopter were rushed to the scene while four ships crossing the area joined in on the rescue operation. Around half of the 25-metre-long boat is underwater.
It is still unclear where the boat had departed from or where it was headed.