A rescue ship carrying more than 200 migrants and eight bodies docked in Sicily after a deadly week in the Mediterranean Sea, in which hundreds drowned while trying to reach Europe from Libya.
Most of the 219 men, women and children on the rescue ship Bourbon Argos were West Africans, according to Doctors without Borders, which operates the ship.
They included 27 men who were rescued by the British navy on Wednesday, and transferred to the Bourbon Argos, after the rubber boat they were on deflated. Six bodies were fished out of the water on Wednesday and 97 others who were on the dinghy are missing and feared dead.
People smugglers continue to take advantage of Libya’s political situation to launch sea journeys across the Mediterranean.
The International Organization for Migration on Friday said that the death toll in the Mediterranean, the most dangerous border crossing on the planet for migrants, is estimated to be 4,636 this year, already 1,000 more than in all of 2015.
More than 168,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat this year, exceeding 154,000 for the whole of 2015.