11 bodies retrieved from Mediterranean off Libya: NGO

Handout image shows Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) teams sailing on the boat with dead bodies of migrants in body bags retrived from the Mediterranean sea June 7, 2024. (MSF via Reuters)
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ROME: The bodies of 11 people, believed to be migrants, were retrieved off the Libyan coast on Friday, the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) NGO said on X.
“Sadly, after a search operation that lasted over nine hours, GeoBarents team retrieved the bodies of 11 people who unfortunately lost their lives,” MSF said.
MSF had been alerted to the corpses by German NGO Sea-Watch, which said earlier on Friday it had spotted the 11 bodies in the water.
“During today’s flight with our Seabird, the crew spotted 11 bodies,” said Sea-Watch, which also rescues migrants in the Mediterranean.
“It is unclear whether the bodies discovered off the Libyan coast were victims of a previously unknown shipwreck.”
While out searching for the bodies, MSF sighted a boat and rescued the 20 people aboard, it said.
Both NGOs accused European countries of complicity in the deaths due to their migration policies.
Sea-Watch said Libyan authorities had chosen to leave the bodies at sea.
“The so-called Libyan coast guard — financed by the EU — ignored our call demanding that the bodies be recovered,” said Sea-Watch, which has in the past clashed with Libyan authorities, who they claim once threatened to shoot down their aeroplane with a missile.
Libya is a major jumping-off point for migrants trying to head from Africa to Europe, with the Italian island of Lampedusa the nearest European destination.
According to Italy’s interior ministry, the number of migrant arrivals in the country has dropped considerably in 2024 to just under 21,800 since the beginning of the year, compared to close to 53,300 in the same period last year.
The journey can be dangerous with more than 3,000 migrants reported to have gone missing in 2023 while attempting to cross the Mediterranean, according to the International Organization for Migration.