World / Middle East

Immigrant boat sinks off Libyan coast, 160 feared dead

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-15 20:00

TRIPOLI -- A boat carrying some 200 illegal migrants sank on Sunday off the Libyan coast, a navy spokesman said Monday.

The boat, bound for Europe, sank near Tajura area, some 20 km east of Tripoli. Forty of the stowaways were rescued and the rest were feared dead, according to the spokesman, Qasim Ayub.

Qasim said there were a large number of corpses floating in the sea, but that the Libyan coast guard had difficulty searching for survivors due to lack of proper equipment.

Libya has long been a transit route for migrants seeking to reach Malta, Italy, and other places in Europe because of its proximity and relatively loose border control.

Since early July, the Libyan government has established an agency in cooperation with neighboring countries to combat illegal immigration and smuggling.

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