600 feared dead as migrant boat sinks off Tripoli, Italy says 300 headed for Malta

Many migrants are feared dead as the boat they were on destined for Italy or Malta sank a few miles off the coast of Tripoli.

Reports suggest that the boat, laden with some 600 asylum-seekers sank some time yesterday as it set sail from Tripoli and broke in half, throwing all into the water.

Many women, children and new born babies were reported to be on board the ill-fated boat and are feared dead.

Some survivors are said to have managed to get to shore after swimming for two hours, while merchant ships have recovered at least 12 bodies.

The news has also been confirmed by UNHCR spokesperson Laura Boldrini who said: "Unfortunately this confirms that the Libyan government has no problem putting its people at risk, on dangerous vessels, just to put pressure on destination countries. These people are just being sent to their deaths."

The migrant boat left Tripoli together with another that has reached Lampedusa early this morning.

Reports reaching MaltaToday from Lampedusa that some of the refugees that have landed are claiming that they have been informed that relatives of theirs have died in the tragedy off Tripoli.

Meanwhile, another migrant boat that was located at 50 miles off Lampedusa early this afternoon has been reported by the Italian Coast Guard to have changed route and is heading for Malta.

The boat is said to be carrying up to 300 African asylum seekers.

MaltaToday has so far not been able to seek confirmation on this from the AFM.

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Wow, does anyone have an actual count of those perished at this point? So sad! -Jpierce @FPO
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We are talking of human beings here. They have a right to live decently. And criminals like Gadaffi are sending them to their death. It is the moral responsibility of all politicians world wide to make this world a safer place for them to be in. And if it means killing Gadaffi to save these poor souls then the united powers who play God with other peoples lives better get their act together and play god the right way by saving these poor people. One day they will be judged for their inactions. They better do something right than give us all a load of bull.
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Rest in peace. 600 young people with so much energy and promise do not deserve to die like this.
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Robin hood, my exact sensitiment. This UN mandate is nothing more than an opportunity. We don't even know who makes up the rebels and gaddafi and the rebels go on killing people on both sides for their political agenda. It's always the civilians who end up suffering and no one can really debate that.
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ROBIN HUUD & CE Not only that, but there's a report on It-Torca which refers to the sandstorm a few days ago when we also had rain which dirtied everything and which sand was most probably contaminated with depleted uranium which is being used in Libya by the NATO Forces. Why is everything being hidden from the people? Where are the health authorities? Have they taken any radiation measurements? Why is Dr Gonzi shifting everything on the divorce debate to shift the peoples attention from more urgent, pressing and important issues such as whether Malta and the people have been subjected to radiation by the NATO forces? Why were the French military aircraft not impounded until hostilities cease like the ibyan ones were impounded Dr Gonzi? If the French are fooling you that's really bad. If they are not and you are collaborating with them then you are breaching our Constitution which you swore to uphold and thus you are also breaching your SACRED OATH as a CATHOLIC Dr Gonzi. Both are wrong and make you unfit for governing our country, but the second is worse because you are knowing breaching the Constitution and reneging on your duty to uphold the Constitution while you are also breaching your OATH which as a Catholic you should never do. These are the most important issues Dr Gonzi, and stop trying to take the people for a ride.
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While refugees drown in the Mediterranean Sea NATO watches on. The mandate given by the UN for the protection of civilians in the Libyan conflict seems to matter no more. Not a word of protest from our Politicians instead they are immersed in the Divorce referendum debacle. Meanwhile the killing of Syrians goes on while the United States are engulfed in celebrations with the killing of Bin Laden. President Obama is guaranteed a second term. The word Priorities seems to have been obliterated from the English dictionary.
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While the 'alliance' are busy fighting to take the best oil deals in Libya we're expected to take the consequences of such wars. Not to forget that we should be grateful that Ms Malstrom had organized a conference in which Malta can go around begging nations to take some of our immigrants.
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CJohn Zammit I was not referring to the dead but to the living. It is not hate but love for my country. I don't want to see my country and my fellow Maltese citizens continue down the spiral being invaded by illegal immigrants and losing what we have been paying for through our taxes such as health and social services because they become unsustainable due to the burden of illegal immigrants and the lowering of wages and working conditions of Maltese workers who also lose their work because the illegal immigrants and other foreigners work here and accept lower wages and working conditions and undermining Maltese workers. This is apart from Malta being the smallest most overpopulated country in Europe and in nearly all the world and we do not have any breathing space. I am not only against African illegal immigrants but also against those who are illegal because they have overstayed their visa from whatever country and continent they came. I wonder how many illegal immigrants you and the other do-gooders are hosting in your own homes, providing them with work and everything else and not dumping their responsibility and upkeep on the rest of the taxpayers CJohn Zammit
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@Haha How do you send dead people back to their country?   You are overflowing ... with hate!
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Just send them back to their own country. We are overflowing and fed up
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I hold those who wanted a war totally responsible for this. In addition to the EU bureacy in Brussels for not lifting a finger to help. They have basically abondoned Malta and Italy to tackle these kind of issues.
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What the world needs most is to review the current trends in the light of spiritual well being and tranquility of conscience towards oneself and others. Only God's love can save the world, and that is no fiction. Just look around and see the havoc we find ourselves in when conscience is stifled. Conscience is stifled in the name of freedom. The social realty is that excesses and extremes enslave the human heart and mind into rebellion, unreasonableness , corruption and violence. This is the malice that is ruling us. We need a renaissance of values.