Boat carrying 200 African migrants sinks off Libyan coast while travelling 'towards Europe'

Wooden boat ran into trouble off the coast of Qarabouli, to the east of Tripoli

A boat with at least 200 African migrants that had been trying to reach Europe has sunk off the coast of Libya, an official has said.

“The coast guards have rescued 17 of the illegal migrants,” Navy Spokesman Ayoub Qassem said, as reported by Reuters, while a further 15 bodies are believed to have been recovered.

A search is now underway to find the rest of the passengers, after the boat ran into trouble near Qarabouli, roughly 35 miles east of the capital Tripoli late on Friday.

"A few miles off the coast, we found the remains of a wooden boat which had some 200 migrants on board," Coastguard Spokesman Abdellatif Mohammed Ibrahimtold told AFP.

"We managed to save 16 people and recovered 15 bodies, but the search continues for some 170 people who disappeared at sea."

He added: "It seems that among them are Somalis and Eritreans" in addition to other nationalities. One of the fatalities was an 18-month-old child.

Libyan coastguards were alerted to the incident on Saturday morning by fishermen and the officials have been using their fishing equipment to help carry out rescue missions.

The wooden boat, which was reportedly bound for Europe, is just one of many throughout the year that are packed with migrants to make the daunting and dangerous journey across the Mediterranean in often sub-standard vessels.

According to the Human Rights Watch there are as many as half a million people waiting on the coast of Libya for a boat into Europe.

A boat carrying 200 African migrants has sunk off the coast of Libya A boat carrying 200 African migrants has sunk off the coast of Libya A report by Turkish news agency Anadolu last year said that there are three popular places in Libya where “smugglers transport undocumented migrants” – being Triplo, Zawara and Misrata.

They reportedly charge up to $2,000 per person and can fill a boat to its capacity with little regard for the safety of those travelling in it.

The boats often head for Italy and it has led the country to create Mare Nostrum (Our Sea), a mission in which 100,000 have so far been rescued from the seas since it began last October.

Independent journalist Memphis Barker says that August is “somewhat darkly known as ‘boating season’”.

Meanwhile, two people have been charged with people-smuggling after an Afghan migrant was found dead in a shipping container at the English port of Tilbury on 16 August - a journey which 34 others had survived.

READ MORE: What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy?
Tilbury's migrants exposes the hopelessness of our immigration system
Privately funded refugee rescue operation sets sail from Malta
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam