At least eight migrants have drowned, 84 rescued and many missing after An inflatable boat sank off the coast of Libya, the Italian coastguard said.
The coastguard said the partly submerged boat was spotted by a surveillance aircraft engaged in the EU’s Operation Sophia, which aims to intercept boats engaged in people smuggling.
Libyan Brig. Gen. Ayoub Qassim, a spokesman for that country’s navy and coast guard, said the migrants’ boat capsized and sank in international waters and that the Libyan navy did not have the resources to rush to their rescue.
Gen. Ayoub Qassim told The Associated Press on Saturday that the boat left Garbouli, east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, with more than 100 people on board.
Nearly 34,000 migrants have drowned or gone missing in the waters since 2000, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration.
Since last summer, the number of migrants coming across the Mediterranean has dropped after the Libyan coast guard, trained and aided by the Italian military, started more aggressively intercepting smugglers’ boats shortly after they were launched.