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700 migrants were aboard capsized fishing vessel off Libya

An old fishing vessel full of 700 immigrants capsized about 15 miles off the coast of Libya today. 100 have been rescued, while four ships are in the area to try to save the rest. The BBC, in contact with an Irish military ship at the scene, said many are feared drowned.
According to La Repubblica today, the Rome Coast Guard offices received the mayday call from Catania in the late morning. Catania officials received the call from a satellite telephone saying that an imbarcation , a fishing vessel with several hundred people on it, was in trouble. The Coast Guard immediately alerted the private ship Dignity One, which is run by Doctors without Frontiers, and the Niamh, an Irish military ship that has helped with several other rescues. The Niamh, at about one mile from the ship in distress, let down two rescue boats to go help the immigrants. At this point, crew on the Niamh saw the boat capsize: they hypothesize that the migrants all moved toward the side of the boat facing the rescue boats and flipped their own vessel. Most of the people on board had probably never seen a boat or the sea before their journey, let alone know how to swim.
Besides the above two rescue ships, the Coast Guard directed the private ship Phoenix, a 40-meter rescue ship of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, owned by a wealthy American man and his Italian wife who just decided to devote themselves to helping migrants survive the sea crossing to Europe where they request refugee status.

More than 2,000 migrants died in the Mediterranean this year (2015) according to the International Organization for Migrations. In the same period of 2014, 1,607 people died at sea trying to reach the borders of Europe. In all of 2014, the number of immigrants who drowned at sea was 3,279.

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