In this photo taken on Monday, July 2, 2018, Guillermo Cañardo, chief of mission, and Marco Martinez Esteban, captain of the Open Arms boat, watch cartoons on a computer next to Khingsley Dokowada, 9, of Central African Republic, aboard the Open Arms aid boat, of Proactiva Open Arms Spanish NGO. Spain's government said Barcelona will be the docking port for the aid boat traveling with 60 migrants rescued on Saturday in waters near Libya and rejected by both Italy and Malta. (AP Photo/Olmo Calvo)

Italy to give Libya 12 boats as migrant deaths at sea mount

July 03, 2018 - 2:46 pm

ROME (AP) — Italy is supplying Libya with 12 naval boats, as migrant deaths at sea mount in the waters near the North African nation.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said Tuesday the vessels include 10 patrol boats, aimed at "strengthening the patrol activity of the Libyan coast."

The Italians will also help train the Libyan coast guard.

Recently, several smuggler boats filled with migrants have capsized shortly after setting out from Libyan shores, where human traffickers are based. While some migrants were rescued by the Libyan coast guard, hundreds of others, including children, were missing at sea and feared dead.

Private aid groups that operate rescue vessels off Libya say the Libyan coast guard is ill-equipped to save lives.

Italy, meanwhile, says private rescue boats only encourage traffickers to launch unseaworthy boats loaded with migrants toward Europe.

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