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Fire on migrant ship off Libya coast turns deadly

  • 7 Oct 2022

The shipwreck took place off the western Libyan city of Sabratha, a major launching point for the mainly African migrants making the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean.

Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East amid internal strife. ( AA Archive )

At least 15 people have been killed after an apparent fire broke out aboard a migrant ship off Libya’s western coast, a spokesman for Libya’s Red Crescent said.

Tawfik al Shukri said on Friday that local authorities had informed the aid group of bodies washing up onshore. 

He said they were retrieved and transported to a hospital, where their remains would be examined to determine the cause of death.

In a video circulated online, the burnt hull of the boat is seen lodged on coastal rocks with bodies strewn around it.

The shipwreck took place off the western Libyan city of Sabratha, a major launching point for the mainly African migrants making the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean.

READ MORE: Migrants drown, many go missing as boat sinks off Tunisia

Deadly voyage

Migrants regularly try to cross the Mediterranean from Libya in a desperate attempt to reach European shores.

The International Organization for Migration said in June that at least 150 migrants departing from Libya were feared to have drowned in the first sixth months of 2022.

Crossings typically increase in the summer and early fall months.

Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East amid internal strife. 

Torn by civil war since 2011, the oil-rich country is divided between rival governments, each backed by international patrons and multiple armed militias on the ground.

READ MORE: Dozens of migrants found dead on Libyan coast

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