A boat carrying around 500 migrants that set off from Libyan coasts has been lost in the central Mediterranean, Alarm Phone, a group that picks up calls from refugee vessels in distress, revealed on Friday.
The group shared that the boat, which disappeared on Wednesday morning, was carrying at least one newborn baby and pregnant women.
Other groups confirmed the boat’s disappearance, which Alarm Phone said was adrift with no working engine in high seas about 200 miles north of the Libyan port of Benghazi and more than 250 miles away from Malta and Italy’s island of Sicily.
Italian NGO Emergency shared on Thursday, according to Al Jazeera, that its Life Support and Ocean Viking ships, another charity vessel, had looked for the missing boat for 24 hours but found no sign of it nor any shipwreck.
Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesperson for the United Nations’ International Organisation for Migration (IOM), posted on Twitter on Friday evening that the “500 migrants that had gone missing” had been brought back to Libya.
At the same time, he stated: “It must be reiterated that Libya is an unsafe port where migrants should never be brought back.”