Refugees and migrants are rescued by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, after leaving Libya trying to reach…
File - Refugees and migrants are rescued by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, after leaving Libya trying to reach European soil aboard an overcrowded rubber boat in the Mediterranean sea, Nov. 11, 2020.

Two United Nations agencies say that 43 African migrants died when a ship they were on capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya.
 
In a joint statement, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) say the vessel overturned in rough seas after its engine quit a few hours after leaving the city of Zawya early Tuesday.
 
The agencies say a “partner on the ground,” the International Rescue Committee, reports 10 survivors were rescued by coastal security and brought to shore. The survivors say all the passengers were men from West African countries.
 
The agencies say they gave the survivors emergency assistance, including food, water and medical screenings, before they were released from the port.  

The agencies say this is the first such accident of 2021, following a year in which hundreds of people lost their lives attempting to cross the central Mediterranean. They say the actual number of people who died crossing the sea during 2020 could be much higher, due to their limited ability to monitor migration routes.  

War-ravaged Libya is a major route for Africa and Middle Eastern migrants seeking to reach Europe. The U.N. agencies called for reactivating state-led search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and for a halt to returning migrants to “unsafe ports.”