At least 97 missing as migrant boat sinks off Libya

Survivors said those missing include 15 women and five children General Ayoub Kacem told AFP. AP  PTI file

Survivors said those missing include 15 women and five children General Ayoub Kacem told AFP. AP PTI file

Between Thursday and Friday, 73 migrants were rescued from five boats by Spanish ships.

The pregnant woman and 25 other migrants were aboard a vessel that was taking on water in the Atlantic Ocean when reached by the rescue boat Salvamar Gadir before daybreak Friday.

A total of 23 male survivors were rescued while clinging to a floating device, Ayoub Kassem added. DARRIN ZAMMIT LUPI/REUTERS Migrants rest on the deck of the Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) ship Phoenix, April 14, 2017.

The MSF also said that NGOs must fill the gaps in service provision left by Frontex, the European Union border agency.

Many choose to cross that patch of sea in the bid for a better life.

"Where are Frontex boats in a day like this?" it asked. However, over 650 people have died or are missing since January 1.

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Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's lobbying arm, said, "It is a great day for freedom". The Iowa Judicial Branch, which oversees state courts, shares similar concerns.

MSF was critical of Frontex's lack of support, tweeting, "how many people would have crossed if we weren't there today, Frontex?"

Videos from the rescues showed women rejoicing with songs, but the day had a sombre underlying.

Libya serves as a popular starting point for migrants, mostly from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, to try to reach Europe. "EU states keep their blind eyes turned" and in 2017 "the sea continues to be a graveyard".

Italy will spend some 3.9 billion euros ($4.1 billion) on managing immigration this year alone, nearly three times as much as in 2013.

At least 590 of them have died or have gone missing along the Libyan coast so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

More than 24,000 migrants arrived in Italy from Libya during the first three months of the year, up from 18,000 during the same period last year, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

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