Over 117 migrants are believed to have perished in the winter waters of the Mediterranean Sea on Friday marking the second tragedy in just two days and bringing the total number of migrant deaths on the Mediterranean Sea to 200 roughly three weeks into the new year, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) said on Monday.
News of this shipwreck arrived with the rescue of three survivors who were interviewed by the IMO staff Saturday on the island of Lampedusa.
The IMO Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo explained that on Friday the Italian navy brought to Lampedusa two Sudanese nationals who said they survived the sinking of an overloaded rubber boat that left Libya the previous day. A third survivor, from Gambia, confirmed those details.
On Saturday, the IMO staff working on the island spoke to the three men, who said that they were on a dinghy carrying 120 migrants, the majority coming from western African countries.
The three survivors reported about 40 Sudanese nationals also were onboard, having left the Libyan Port of Garabuli on Thursday night.
This information comes less than 24 hours after news was confirmed of a shipwreck off the coast of Spain in which 53 African migrants are believed to have drowned. There was one surviving witness of that tragedy, which occurred the night of 17 January.
With these latest shipwreck events the death toll registered by theIMO in January on the Mediterranean has now reached a total of 200.
Human Rights Watch said Monday that the European Union policies “contribute to a cycle of extreme abuse against migrants in Libya.” The EU and Italy’s support for the Libyan coastguard contributes significantly to the interception of migrants and asylum seekers and their subsequent detention in arbitrary, abusive detention in Libya, the organisation added.