Tripoli: About a hundred migrants are reported to be missing after their European-bound boat sank on a crossing in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libya coast near Tripoli on Thursday, a news reported a Libyan coastguard spokesman Ayub Qassem said.
A report said that the inflatable boat was full of 120 on board and after it sank, many are missing." Some 97 refugees are still missing, which includes 15 women and children," Ayub Gassim said.Some reports suggests that the incident took place on Thursday morning as the base of the boat got wrecked after which it sank.
A fortnight ago, a similar incident took place in Libya in which 146 refugees lost their life after their boat sank near the Libyan coast.
A 16-year-old boy who survived the disaster told rescuers at least five children and several pregnant women were among those who drowned.
The tragedy involves refugees who were looking for shelter in some other country. It comes after Libya suspended a deal struck with Italy to reduce refugee boat crossings across the Mediterranean Sea. However, the justice ministry in Tripoli did not give a reason for the move.
"The justice ministry of the Government of National Accord (GNA) confirmed that the court is examining the issue in order pending a ruling, and yet no final judgement has been issued," the report said.
Libya has become the main jumping off point for illegal immigrants, especially African nationals, to cross the sea towards Europe with over 150,000 immigrants making it fro Libya to Italy in each of the past three years.
Smugglers use often rocky vessels to ferry thousands of migrants from north African country to Europe each month. Mass drowning are common when the overloaded boats capsize or sink.