Libyan coastguards rescue 900 immigrants off Sabratha shores on Friday

Migrants on a rubber dinghy are approached to be rescued by the vessel Responder, run by the Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and the Italian Red Cross, in the Mediterranean sea, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. According to MOAS 147 people, of which 20 women, were rescued. (Francesco Malavolta/MOAS via AP)

Libyan coastguards rescued 900 migrants on five boats, including 98 women and 25 children, off the coast of Sabratha in western Libya.

According to the spokesman for the Libyan Navy Ayoub Qassem, the coast guards patrol point of the nearby Zawiya city earlier on Friday headed towards Sabratha city and rescued the 900 migrants, Xinhua news agencu reported.

File image of migrants on an overloaded boat during a rescue operation off the coast of Libya. ReutersFile image of migrants on an overloaded boat during a rescue operation off the coast of Libya. Reuters

“They were rescued seven miles off the coat of Sabratha,” the spokesman said.

Qassim pointed out that the migrants are of African and Arab origins, including three Libyans.

He also said that the rubber boats were perforated and submerged, and a large wooden boat was without an engine. The rescue operation lasted more than seven hours.

The coastal city of Sabratha, located 75 km west of the capital Tripoli, is one of the busiest illegal immigration departure points in Libya.

Italian coast guards announced that more than 1,000 migrants were rescued on Thursday from nine rubber and wooden boats off the coast of Libya.

International Organization for Migration on Friday said that “so far this year 9,111 migrants have been rescued in Libyan waters”.

Due to the state of insecurity and chaos, Libya has become a main departure point of illegal immigration. Smugglers take advantage of the situation in the country to send thousands of migrants through the Mediterranean toward Europe, many of whom drown in the way.

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