By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 12 April 2013:
As the sea state improves, the flow of sub-Saharans seeking to reach Italy from Libya in . . .[restrict]flimsy, ramshackle craft, appears to be starting again in earnest.
Yesterday, Thursday, the Italian coastguard rescued some 500 would-be migrants crammed into five ten-metre inflatables that were designed to take only ten people each. According to Reuters, among the passengers were several pregnant women and others needing hospital treatment. All of the refugees were taken to the island of Lampedusa. They are believed to have started their voyage from Libya.
Since many refugee vessels come to grief alone and unnoticed in the open sea, there can only be guesstimates of the numbers who have died. Human Rights Watch believes that 1,500 would-be migrants may have lost their lives in 2011 with the figure being nearer 300 last year. One of the last known tragedies was in November when ten Somali’s drowned as their boat sank. Spotted by a Maltese patrol craft, the remaining 70 were rescued by an Italian coastguard vessel guided to the scene by the plane. [/restrict]