(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
A vessel carrying refugees got caught in a sea storm just off Libya’s shores Wednesday killing at least 12 people, according to the Italian coastguard.
The Italian coast guard believes it is likely that the number of deaths will increase as a result of the storm.
The total number of passengers on the vessel remains unknown. Rescue missions continue to look for other survivors or bodies from the vessel.
Typically, human traffickers would put 100 or more refugees on board a small boat in weak condition.
The vessel carrying the refugees was about 40 kilometers north of Libyan shores and was heading towards Europe. The rescue mission that involved an Italian navy helicopter saved about 29 refugees.
“The dinghy was put to sea despite very bad weather at the time,” said a spokesperson for the Italian coastguard.
UN reports indicate that around 3,740 refugees have died on route to Europe in the Mediterranean Sea, which is more deaths than last year.