Photo Credit: Reuters

At least 20 migrants trying to reach Europe have drowned off the coast of Libya, a Reuters photographer said.

Darrin Zammit Lupi, who was aboard the rescue ship Phoenix, said he saw 20 bodies while a dinghy was being helped by the ship’s crew, run by the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).

The deaths come one day after the Italian coastguard and other boats rescued some 3,000 migrants from unseaworthy boats off the Libyan coast.

Good weather is believed to be encouraging more people to risk the journey across the Mediterranean.

 

In all 35 rescue operations were launched during the day on Saturday, with 15 of them still underway as night fell, the coastguard said.

Italian news reports say the rescued migrants came from Africa, Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and elsewhere.

Pauline Smith spokeswoman for German sea rescue organisation Jugend Rettet said last night a further 1,000 people remained to be rescued from inflatable dinghies and other craft, with the rescue ships reaching capacity.

She added that other, mainly non-governmental, boats were expected to arrive in the area to help the rescue operations.

Ms Smith said: ‘We have never had to deal with so many people at the same time.’

On Friday rescue vessels worked flat out to rescue more than 2,000 people from flimsy dinghies.

Distressing images of African migrants being plucked from heaving seas or the coffin-strewn aftermath of major sinkings have become a regular feature of television news bulletins since the crisis began spiralling out of control four years ago.

Source: DailyMail

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