The Latest: 13 dead migrants found on boat in Mediterranean
Jul. 25, 2017
BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Europe (all times local):
A Spanish rescue group says it has found 167 migrants alive and 13 dead — including pregnant women and children — in a rubber boat drifting in the Mediterranean sea.
Laura Lanuza, a spokeswoman for Spain's Proactiva Open Arms aid group, said 121 men, 40 women and six children were among those rescued Tuesday 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of the Libyan coastal town of Sabratha.
Separately, a boat from the NGO Save the Children came to the aid of some 90 migrants aboard a small boat, the Italian news agency ANSA said.
Both rescue operations off Libya were coordinated by the Italian coast guard.
More than 2,200 migrants have died trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean so far this year according to the International Organization for Migration.
The European Union has extended the mandate of its naval operation targeting migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean and tasked it with monitoring illegal oil trafficking from Libya.
Operation Sophia, which has naval ships and aircraft monitoring the Mediterranean, aims to disrupt smuggling networks and train Libya's coastguard as a way of stemming the flow of desperate migrants attempting the risky crossing from Libya to Italy in unseaworthy boats.
On Tuesday, the European Council broadened the operation's mandate to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence on illegal oil exports from Libya, monitor Libyan coastguard members it has trained and enhance information sharing between EU member states and enforcement agencies.
The operation's mandate, which had been due to expire Thursday, has been extended until the end of 2018.