At least 61 asylum seekers drown in shipwreck off Libya: IOM | Migration news

About 86 people were on board the boat, the Libyan office of the International Organization for Migration said, citing survivors.

At least 61 refugees and asylum seekers, including women and children, have drowned following a “tragic” shipwreck off Libya, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

The agency’s Libya office early Sunday morning quoted survivors as saying the boat was carrying about 86 people.

“Most of the migrants” are believed to have died due to high tides when their ship left Juwara on Libya’s northwest coast, the IOM’s Libya office said in a statement.

Libya and Tunisia are the main departure points for refugees and asylum seekers, who embark on perilous sea journeys in the hope of reaching Europe via Italy.

In the latest incident, most of the victims – the IOM office said – were from Nigeria, Gambia and other African countries, and nearly 25 were rescued and transferred to a Libyan detention center.

An IOM team “provided medical assistance” and all survivors are in good condition, the organization said.

IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo, X, previously wrote on Twitter that more than 2,250 people had died this year along the central Mediterranean migration route, a “dramatic number that unfortunately proves insufficient to save lives at sea”.

On June 14 this year, the Adriana, a fishing boat traveling from Libya to Italy with 750 people on board, capsized in international waters off southwest Greece.

According to survivors, the ship consisted mainly of Syrians, Pakistanis and Egyptians. Only 104 people survived and 82 bodies were recovered.

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The United Nations refugee agency says 153,000 refugees and asylum seekers have arrived in Italy this year from Tunisia and Libya.

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