The Libyan Government has announced that a ferry with 130 people on-board has capsized off the Libyan coast of Tripoli, killing at least 36 people.
The Libyan Navy rescued 52 people when the ferry sank on 6 May, and the search for the missing passengers is continuing. At least 54 people are still unaccounted for.
Libyan Navy spokesman Ayoub Kassem was quoted by the BBC as saying that the boat capsized about 4km from the coastal town of Garabouli, after its hull had collapsed.
The boat was carrying passengers from sub-Saharan African countries, including Mali, Cameroon, Ghana, Gambia and Burkina Faso, Kassem added.
Libya’s proximity to Italy and Malta across the Mediterranean Sea has made the country’s coast a preferred transit route for illegal migrants trying to reach the European Union (EU).
Libya Interior Minister Saleh Mazek warned that the country would help the migrants to reach Europe if the EU did not take measures to curb the migration crisis.
The minister allegedly blamed migrants for the increase in crime in the country and spread of illegal drugs and diseases, and urged the neighbouring countries of southern Libya to help limit the flow of people, the Associated Press reported.
The Libyan Government has said it will strive against illegal migration to Europe and work with European countries to monitor borders.