Tripoli, 13 April 2013:
Five sub-Saharan migrants died, their bodies thrown overboard, during a rubber dinghy’s five-day voyage towards Europe, before the . . .[restrict]remaining 89 were rescued by the Libyan coastguard yesterday, Friday.
Many of the migrants, who were from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana and Mali, were taken to hospital for treatment, Naval official Colonel Ayub Omar Gacem told the Libyan news agency LANA. The others, he said, were given food and medicine.
The rubber boat was spotted some 19 miles off the coast of Zawia by a local fisherman, who then alerted the coastguard.
Gacem took the opportunity to call upon the government to speed up procedures for the coastguard to get new rescue equipment. Now the weather and seafaring conditions in the Mediterranean are improving, increased numbers of migrants are expected to attempt an illegal crossing from Libya to Europe.
Earlier in the week 34 migrants, who included a pregnant woman and children, were rescued by the Libyan coastguard.
A further 500 sub-Saharan migrants, who had set sail from Libya crammed into five inflatable boats, were rescued by the Italian coastguard yesterday. [/restrict]