By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis and Tripoli, 29 May 2016:
It is feared that at least 700 migrants have drowned since Thursday trying . . .[restrict]to make the crossing from Libya to Europe, as rescue ships struggled to cope with the people-traffickers’ armada of unseaworthy craft.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, 500 people perished in a single capsizing on Thursday and another 100 died in a second sinking. Rescuers pulled a further 45 bodies from the sea. Evidence gathered from among the no-less than 13,000 migrants saved in the past week alone, suggests that around 200 more may not have made it.
Patrol craft from Italy, Ireland and Germany, along with ships sent by humanitarian groups have been responsible for most of the rescues. One Italian official said that the sheer number of migrant craft being launched by the traffickers was making it extremely difficult to coordinate a multiple life-saving operations.
A Save the Children spokesman, Giovanna Di Benedetto told AFP that survivors had claimed that 1,100 people had left Sabratha on Wednesday crowded into two fishing vessels and a dinghy.
“The first boat, carrying some 500 people, was reportedly towing the second, which was carrying another 500. But the second boat began to sink. Some people tried to swim to the first boat, others held onto the rope linking the vessels,” she said.
The Sudanese captain of the first boat is supposed to have cut the rope, decapitating a woman when the line snapped back. The second boat, with people crammed into its hold, then sank rapidly.
It is being reported that the Sudanese and three other suspected people-traffickers were arrested when they were brought ashore in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo.
Given the substantial number of migrants setting off from Libya within four days, it may seem surprising that the authorities noticed nothing, [/restrict]