Missing After Asylum Seeker Boat Sinks

Migrants aboard the Golfo Azurro rescue vessel wait to be transferred to Italian authorities in Trapani harbor, on the Italian island of Sicily, Saturday, April 8, 2017.

Almost 100 refugees were reported missing Thursday when their inflatable boat sank off the coast of Libya - another tragedy making this year one of the Mediterranean's deadliest for migrants.

Human smugglers place most of the refugees in flimsy inflatable dinghies that get picked up by rescue ships and other vessels after they reach global waters.

The Libyan coast guard had rescued 23 migrants of various African nationalities, who were found clinging to a floating device, just under 10 kilometres (6 miles) off the coast of Tripoli.

MSF was critical of Frontex's lack of support, tweeting, "how many people would have crossed if we weren't there today, Frontex?"

The Italian coastguard and other boats rescued about 3,000 migrants from unseaworthy boats off the Libyan coast on Saturday, as good weather pushed the numbers up, a participating NGO said.

He says the boat, which was loaded with African nationals seeking a better life in Europe, "completely collapsed".

Migrants on a rubber dinghy await rescue by the Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) in the central Mediterranean in worldwide waters off the coast of Sabratha in Libya, April 15.

Thousands of immigrants have reached Italian shores this year and hundreds have drowned crossing the sea.

The UN said in January more than 5,000 migrants died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe in 2016, a record high.

Libya serves as a popular starting point for migrants, mostly from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, to try to reach Europe.

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