Horrifying photographs showing pregnant women and children among dead migrants found in a rubber dinghy has shone a light on the grim reality of the desperate scramble to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.
A Spanish charity found 167 migrants alive and 13 dead in yet another rescue operation involving rubber boats crossing the deadly stretch of sea.
More than 2,200 migrants have died trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean so far this year according to the International Organization for Migration – meaning on average 10 people a day die making the journey.
The latest grim salvation mission was 15 miles off the coast of Sabratha in Libya and the migrants on board were said to be sub-Saharan and the failed journey resulted in more than a dozen deaths.
As some migrants’ corpses lie naked in the middle of the dinghy, others can be seen in the pictures sitting around in life-jackets waiting to be rescued.
The European Union has extended the mandate of its naval operation targeting migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean until the end of 2018 and tasked it with monitoring illegal oil trafficking from Libya.
Operation Sophia, which has naval ships and aircraft monitoring the Mediterranean, aims to disrupt smuggling networks and train Libya’s coastguard as a way of stemming the flow of desperate migrants attempting the risky crossing from Libya to Italy in unseaworthy boats.