Libyan Red Crescent workers pick up bodies near Sabratha, February 28, 2022 | Credit: Twitter @rgowans / Libyan Red Crescent
Libyan Red Crescent workers pick up bodies near Sabratha, February 28, 2022 | Credit: Twitter @rgowans / Libyan Red Crescent

Around 50 people died in a shipwreck on February 27 off the Libyan coast. Some of their corpses washed up on the beach of Sabratha in the Zawiya district.

About 50 people were trying to flee Libya when their boat sank off the city of Sabratha, west of Tripoli, on February 27, according to the NGO Alarm Phone. The volunteer hotline tweeted this week that there had been no survivors, but more than a dozen dead bodies had washed up on the coast.

In the days following the shipwreck, members of the Libyan Red Crescent recovered seven corpses from the beach. According to a source close to the Libyan coast guard, the dead were taken to the Sabratha police station.

A Sudanese migrant in Libya contacted by InfoMigrants (French) said that he saw six bodies on a beach in Sabratha on February 28. He posted photos of the bodies on Twitter.

The UN refugee agency's Caroline Gluck, based in Libya, confirmed that bodies had been found, but neither she nor the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was able to give InfoMigrants any further information about the shipwreck.

Also read: 15 migrant bodies wash up on Libyan coast

Rescued migrants bound for Dunkirk

Meanwhile a large container ship owned by the French company CMA CGM is heading to Dunkirk, northern France, carrying 26 migrants who had fled from Libya.

The migrants reportedly left the city of Benghazi on March 3 in a rubber boat. Two days later they contacted Alarm Phone saying they were adrift in international waters. Both the Italian and Maltese coast guards refused Alarm Phone’s requests to take responsibility for rescuing the migrants, instead telling the NGO to contact Libyan authorities.

On March 6, Alarm Phone learned that the migrants had been rescued by the ship CMA CGM Rivoli which was on its way to northern France.

Hundreds of distress calls

Alarm Phone announced last week that it had assisted 407 boats in distress in the Central Mediterranean in 2021, many more than in previous years. Of these, 45 migrant boats were rescued by vessels run by civil society groups including Sea Watch, SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

Alarm Phone also reports that many of the boats that contacted them were shipwrecked, resulting in hundreds of people losing their lives.

The official number of migrant deaths in the Central Mediterranean in 2021 stands at about 1,550 - the number of missing who have not been accounted for is far higher. Thousands of others were intercepted by the coast guard and returned to Libya or Tunisia, according to the IOM.

Also read: 75 migrants feared dead in shipwreck in Central Mediterranean

 

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