Tragic Shipwreck Off Libyan Coast: Over 60 Migrants Dead in Pursuit of Better Life

A tragic incident occurred off the Libyan coast when a boat filled with migrants hoping to reach Europe overturned. The United Nations migration agency reported that the accident resulted in the deaths of over 60 individuals, including women and children.

This recent shipwreck, which took place on Saturday, adds to the growing list of tragedies occurring in this part of the Mediterranean Sea. This route, although crucial, is perilous for migrants who are in search of a better life in Europe. Official reports indicate that thousands of people have lost their lives in such incidents.

The boat, according to a statement from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) of the U.N., was ferrying 86 migrants when it was overwhelmed by powerful waves near Zuwara, a town on Libya’s western shoreline. Survivors reported that 61 migrants lost their lives in the incident.

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The IOM highlighted on the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, that the central Mediterranean remains one of the most hazardous migration routes globally. Alarm Phone, a distress hotline for migrants, tweeted that they received calls from some migrants on the boat. They alerted the authorities, including the Libyan coastguard, who stated they wouldn’t conduct a search.


In recent times, Libya has become the primary gateway for migrants escaping conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. This is despite the country descending into turmoil following a NATO-supported revolt that overthrew and killed the long-standing dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Flavio Di Giacomo, an IOM spokesperson, reported that over 2,250 individuals lost their lives on the central European route this year. He expressed on X that this alarming number shows that more needs to be done to prevent the loss of life at sea.

The IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reported that between January 1 and November 18, at least 940 migrants were declared dead and 1,248 were missing off the Libyan coast. The project, which monitors migration movements, stated that around 14,900 migrants, including over 1,000 women and more than 530 children, were intercepted and sent back to Libya this year.

In 2022, the project reported 529 deaths and 848 missing off the Libyan coast. Over 24,600 were intercepted and returned to Libya.

Human traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos in Libya in recent years, smuggling migrants across the country’s extensive borders, shared with six other nations. The migrants are packed into poorly equipped vessels, including rubber boats, and embark on dangerous sea journeys.

Migrants who are intercepted and sent back to Libya are detained in government-run centers notorious for abuses such as forced labor, beatings, rapes, and torture. U.N.-commissioned investigators have classified these practices as crimes against humanity.

These abuses often coincide with attempts to extort money from the families of the detained migrants before they are allowed to depart Libya on traffickers’ boats bound for Europe. (VOA)