Over 120 migrants, refugees rescued by Libya coastguard: spox

The coastguard said they  rescued over 120 migrants and refugees on Monday, after the engine of their rubber dinghy failed mid sea crossing to Europe.

“We rescued 121 migrants on a rubber boat which broke down” off the town of Qarabulli, 60 kilometres east of the capital, Lieutenant Mohammed Dandi, a coastguard commander, told AFP.

Among those rescued, who hailed from Arab and Sub-Saharan African countries, were 10 women. They were taken to the shore on two boats and transferred to a holding centre, AFP reported.

It was the second such operation in under a week –  on Thursday  104 migrants were rescued in the same area after their boat also ran into trouble.

This year record numbers have made the deadly crossing from Libya, Egypt and Turkey to Europe – more than 370,000 have crossed via the Mediterrean a 70 per cent increase on 2014.

The majority leave from Libya to go to Italy’s Lampedusa island, some 300 kilometers away as Libyan smugglers have exploited the security breakdown to expand their lucrative trafficking networks.

Many migrants, put to sea in rickety boats,  do not survive the crossing – over 2700 people have already drowned mid-passage this year.

Last month, an estimated 200 people died when a boat transporting 400 migrants sank off the western Libyan port of Zuwara.

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