50 bodies found on Libyan refugee boat

Swedish rescue teams find corpses of 50 refugees on boat off Libyan coast

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The Swedish coastguard ship Poseidon, pictured after a migrant rescue operation earlier this summer.

Swedish forces on Wednesday, found about 50 bodies in the hull of a refugee boat off the coast of Libya, according to Italian coast guard.

The Swedish ship Poseidon, which had been patrolling the area as a part of the Triton search and rescue mission, rescued 439 survivors from the wooden vessel along with the dead bodies.

Poseidon was in the process of rescuing 130 people from rubber dinghy in the same area, when it got a call to assist the wooden ship.

Following the rescue operation, Swedish coast guard spokesman Mattias Lindholm said that "We had to cut up the deck of the wooden boat to get to (the bodies) in a safe way."

Lindholm also added that asphyxiation may have caused the death of the victims.  Migrants pay Libyan smugglers up to 1,000 euros to escape war and poverty and reach Europe in hopes of being granted asylum.

According to Italian coast guard, during the 10 rescue operations which were conducted on Wednesday, the teams found corpses of three refugee women on another unseaworthy boat.

On Wednesday, an Irish ship also rescued more than 500 refugees from another boat, a spokeswoman for the Italian coastguard said.

According to International Organization for Migration’s 2015 report, so far this year, 2,365 desperate refugees have been killed as they were trying to reach Europe.

Meanwhile, European Union is trying to find a solution for the growing refugee crisis in the continent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Western Balkan leaders will gather on Thursday, to discuss the security measures which can be taken to prevent the massive influx of refugees from Balkan countries to the EU.

Last week, more than 8000 refugees passed through Macedonia from Serbia, they had been waiting outside the border due to Macedonia declaring a state of emergency and closing its borders to prevent massive influx of refugees.

Following the tense stand off in Macedonia, the refugees decided to cross the border to reach EU. On Tuesday, 1,500 refugees were accepted into the country and accommodated at 28 shelters set up by the UN and Russian-Serbian aid organisation in the city of Kanjiza.


TRTWorld and agencies