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Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

250 people feared dead after shipwrecks in the Mediterranean

250 people feared dead after shipwrecks in the Mediterranean

The dinghy started deflating at one end, the passengers shifted their positions in the boat and the craft capsized.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity since the shipwreck is being investigated. The dinghy had no distress signalling equipment, and its surviving occupants were rescued by a Danish cargo ship.

IOM Rome reported over the weekend and into Monday that IOM field staffers at Italian landing points calculated a total of 6,612 rescued survivors from more than a dozen locations since last Friday.

Spokesperson Mohanad Krima said: "All the bodies are of female victims and there is a girl of less than one year old".

Even at the moment that the cargo ship was about to pluck the survivors to safety, the woman recalled, some just couldn't hold on any longer. The International Organization for Migration estimates 1,222 people have died making that voyage this year, compared to 966 over the same period in 2016.

He said that in many cases, the refugees are attacked at sea by smugglers who seize their mobile phones.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. "They were completely shocked and traumatized", said Carlotta Sami, Rome-based spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency.

Libya's coastguard on Wednesday intercepted a wooden boat packed with almost 500 migrants after altercation with a German NGO rescue ship and coming under fire from traffickers, the navy said as it returned the migrants to Tripoli. Fleeing Libya Most of the activity so far this year is from the Libya to Italy route, as well as to Spain. Over 190 migrants lost their life in two shipwrecks.

They said Libya was not a safe place for migrants. IOM spokesman Joel Millman feared the better weather is kicking off the Mediterranean's traditional summer migration surge.

Paris police said about 350 officers took part in the operation early Tuesday morning.

Melilla's Interior Ministry office say most of the migrants have been pushed back by Spanish and Moroccan police, but about 100 managed to enter the city.

He says the volunteer rescue boat was infringing on Libya's sovereignty by insisting on rescuing them.

Libya has been in turmoil for years and migrants living there or passing through say they are subject to a range of abuses.

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