18 migrants rescued off Libyan coast, 7 others die at sea

Miguel Duarte carries out a rescue operation from the Iuventa ship on the Mediterranean Sea, June, 2017. Picture taken June, 2017. Rita Gaspar/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Miguel Duarte carries out a rescue operation from the Iuventa ship on the Mediterranean Sea, June, 2017. Picture taken June, 2017. Rita Gaspar/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday said that 18 people believed to be on an attempt to cross the Mediterranean from Africa into Europe were rescued off the Libyan coast.

“Today, 18 migrants were returned to Tripoli, Libya by the coast guard … seven people lost their lives during the week they spent floating at sea,” IOM tweeted.

“Four of the migrants were in critical health condition and were transferred to a clinic,” IOM said.

Encouraged by the state of insecurity and chaos that plagued the country since the 2011 fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, migrants choose to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya towards Europe.

IOM estimated that more than 5,700 migrants have been rescued and returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard so far this year, while 9,225 illegal immigrants were rescued and returned to Libya in 2019.