From file: Migrants in a rubber dinghy awaiting rescue in the Mediterranean Sea | Photo: picture-alliance/AP Photo/O. Calvo
From file: Migrants in a rubber dinghy awaiting rescue in the Mediterranean Sea | Photo: picture-alliance/AP Photo/O. Calvo

A boat with at least 91 migrants on board floating in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast is feared missing. A hotline for migrants in distress at sea says Libyan authorities on Sunday refused to attempt to rescue the migrants because detention camps are "full". 93 other migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean on Sunday by a Spanish NGO.

A boat with 91 migrants on board is feared missing off the Libyan coast, the Mediterranean migrant hotline Alarm Phone says.

It tweeted early Sunday morning that the boat was taking on water and there were already people overboard. The Libyan coastguard had failed to respond to efforts to contact them for "several hours," according to Alarm Phone. 

A representative of the Libyan coast guard later said no rescue operation had been launched because the detention camps were already full and a solution was needed.

Alarmphone says that it lost contact with the 91 people at around 6:15 AM on Sunday morning. "We fear the worst," Alarmphone writes on Twitter.
93 migrants rescued 

An NGO rescue vessel, Aita Mari, picked up 93 migrants from the central Mediterranean on Sunday. The migrants were found in an inflatable boat in the early hours of the morning, according to the Spanish Organization Salvamento Maritimo Humanitario. The NGO later tweeted that there were 16 women, three of them pregnant, and 37 children under 18 years old among the 93 rescued migrants.
The Aita Mari is one of several migrant rescue boats run by non-government organizations operating in the Mediterranean. The deployment of navy ships to conduct search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean under the EU mission "Sophia" was stopped in March 2019.

More than a 1,000 returned to Libya last month 

During the month of January, Libyan coast guard authorities picked up more than 1,000 refugees and migrants off its coast and brought them back to Libya, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. 

Many migrants stopped by the Libyan coast guard are returned to detention centers. The UN has repeated calls for the centers to be closed because of their squalid conditions and abuse of detainees.

With agencies, epd, kna, ap

 

More articles