Latest Estimates Point to 800 Victims of Capsized Boat off Libyan CoastWorld | April 21, 2015, Tuesday // 10:07| views
A general view shows the Italian Coast Guard`s vessel Bruno Gregoretti arriving at Catania`s port as it carried migrants who survived in recent Mediterranean sinkings, in Catania, Sicily, Italy, early 21 April 2015. Photo: EPA
The latest estimates point that about 800 migrants died when their boat capsized off the Libyan coast at the weekend.
Earlier accounts spoke of 700 victims, while one of the surviving passengers claimed there were 950 people on board of the capsized vessel.
The passengers included Syrians, about 150 Eritreans and Somalians, among them children aged between 10 and 12, who left Tripoli on Saturday, the BBC reports.
The captain and a crew member of the vessel were detained by Italian authorities on suspicion of human trafficking and a homicide investigation was launched.
According to officials, the arrested men were the Tunisian captain and his Syrian first mate, who were among the 27 survivors that arrived in Sicily on Monday.
It is believed that the boat capsized when a Portuguese merchant ship attempted to rescue the migrants, which caused panic among the migrants.
At the meeting of foreign and interior ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, the EU presented a ten-point package to address the migrant crisis unraveling in the Mediterranean Sea.
The proposed measures foresee the boosting of search-and-rescue operations and destruction of traffickers' boats.
The EU will also work with the home countries of migrants to attempt to discourage them from making the dangerous sea crossings.
Another steps include increasing the financial resources of Frontex, which is in charge of the EU's Mediterranean rescue operation Triton and extension of Triton's operational area.
These proposals will be further discussed at an emergency summit of EU leaders on Thursday, when the proposed measures should be adopted.
As the talks were taking place on Monday, Italy and Malta were involved in at least two other rescue operations.
According to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, one of the vessels was a dinghy off the Libyan coast carrying 100-150 people, while the other was a larger boat with 300 people on board.
Earlier on Monday, a vessel ran aground off the Greek island of Rhodes, which resulted in the death of three migrants and the rescue of 80 people.
The continued political instability in Libya has allowed for human trafficking to flourish in the country.
EU High Representative Federica Mogherini revealed that at their meeting the ministers discussed the possibility of supporting a government of national unity in Libya.
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