Migrants: Libya, at least one child dead in shipwreck

Mediterranea spokesman says discussion while people dying

19 March, 15:57

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO, MARCH 19 - A Libyan Navy spokesman, Admiral Ayob Amr Ghasem, said a shipwreck reported on Tuesday morning by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) off Libya has led to the death of at least one child while some 30 migrants probably swam to safety as their boat sank very close to the coast. At 10 am local time a shipwreck was reported ''between Sabratha and Surman'', west of Tripoli, the spokesman told ANSA. ''There were 47 illegal migrants on board'', he said.

    The wooden boat on which they were travelling ''capsized near the coast'', added Ghasem, claiming the water was so shallow that ''you could walk''. ''Sixteen migrants were rescued by residents'' in the area but ''the body of a child'' was found, the spokesman said in a phone interview. No additional bodies were found and the survivors are believed to have reached the coast and fled, said Ghasem, adding that 16 others who were apprehended are in custody.

    ''We are sorry and angry over reports of the umpteenth shipwreck in front of Libya. We are for those rescuing people and not those who make them die at sea. It is necessary to respect human lives. While they are discussing, people are dying'', said Alessandra Sciurba, the spokesperson of Mediterranea, an Italian migrant-rescue NGO.(ANSAmed).

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