March 29, 2012
Failures by Nato and European coast guard authorities caused the needless death of more than 60 migrants who were left adrift in the Mediterranean after fleeing chaos in Libya last year, a report has concluded.
The African migrants - namely Eritreans - were forced to endure an horrific experience in which one by one they succumbed to hunger, thirst and exhaustion, the report by the Council of Europe concluded.
Their fate was sealed after coast guards - including Maltese and Italian - issued ambiguous and confusing instructions, while Nato warships in the area failed to respond to their distress signals.
The immense suffering and tragic loss of life could easily have been avoided, the report said.
The boat, packed with 72 migrants, set sail from the coast of Libya last March, most likely heading for Italy or Malta.
But after its engines failed, it drifted in the Mediterranean for some weeks, before being pushed by currents back to the Libyan coast.
By that time, all but nine of the passengers were dead, including 20 women and two babies.
CNN: Eritrea- A deadly journey through the desert
Source Malta Today
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