Scores of migrants ‘drown off Libya’

A shoe belonging to an illegal immigrant floats on the water after a boat carrying illegal migrants sank off LibyaMany hundreds of migrants have drowned off Libya this year

Many migrants have drowned while trying to reach Europe after their boat sank off Libya, the Libyan navy says.

Navy spokesman Ayub Qassem said 26 people had been rescued after the vessel – which carried 250 – went down near Tajoura, east of Tripoli.

“There are so many dead bodies floating in the sea,” Mr Qassem told reporters.

The tragedy comes just weeks after three vessels carrying migrants sank in quick succession on the route from Libya to Italy.

There has been a surge in the number of migrants leaving Libya this year, with human traffickers taking advantage of the chaos in Libya.

Rival militias have been battling for control of the country.

The navy and coastguard have few resources and often have to borrow boats from fishermen and other agencies.

Mr Qassem said most of the migrants were Africans and many were women.