MILAN — A ship carrying up to 600 migrants trying to flee Libya has sunk just off the coast of the North African country, the U.N. Refugee Agency said Monday, citing witness accounts.
The agency is trying to confirm what happened to the passengers when the vessel broke apart at sea shortly after leaving a port near Libya’s capital Tripoli on Friday, spokeswoman Laura Boldrini said.
There was no information on how many people might have died, and the uprising in Libya makes any official accounting unlikely.
Witnesses who departed on another boat shortly after reported seeing the ship broken apart and bodies floating in the sea, Boldrini said. The second boat with witnesses aboard arrived later in Italy, she said.