47 migrants awaiting disembarkation near Tripoli; 12 deaths reported

Updated 08:14 PM

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The International Organisation for Migration, IOM, has found five lifeless bodies of migrants who were stranded at sea. On Twitter, the IOM stated that approximately 47 migrants on Wednesday got the confirmation to disembark in Tripoli. Italian news site Avvenire.it said that the death count rose to 12.

These 47 migrants were intercepted on Tuesday night and remained on the coast guard vessel near Tripoli awaiting confirmation to disembark, said the IOM.

The International Organisation for Migration also said that these 47 migrants were rescued by a commercial ship from the Maltese search and rescue zone and handed over to the Libyan coast guard.

“ People rescued at sea should not be returned to unsafe ports and as such an alternative to disembarkation in Libya must be found urgently” – said IOM.

Italian news website Avvenire.it said that the death toll was 12. While five bodies were recovered, the migrants said that another seven had drowned.

NGOs “deeply saddened”

In a statement, the NGOs endorsing the #DontLetItDrown initiative said they were left deeply saddened and angered at news of the death of migrants at sea and at “the illegal push-back of the survivors to Libya”.

“Malta was legally and morally responsible for protecting the lives of those who requested help whilst in our national waters. Instead, the Government chose to play political games, resulting in needless and cruel loss of life,” said the NGOs.

They said that this is a terrible day for Malta and for human rights.

The Maltese government, last week, announced that the Maltese ports are closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.