A migrant boards a coast guard vessel
A rescued migrant boards an Italian coast guard vessel in 2015Reuters

More migrants are feared missing off the Libyan coast after an Italian merchant ship saved 26 people from a boat taking on water in choppy seas on Friday 29 April. The Italian coastguard managed to track the signal from a satellite call on which they could not hear the other end.

Speaking to Reuters, the coast guard said that a merchant ship in the area was diverted and managed to rescue 26 people from a boat. The people were rescued from a rubber boat that is often used by people smugglers, though usually they are crammed with over 100 people, leading to fears that many more may be missing.

The rescued migrants were later taken aboard a coast guard vessel and taken to Lampedusa, which has seen thousands of migrants arriving after making the incredibly dangerous crossing from Libya. Since the start of 2014, 350,000 people have arrived in Italy taking similar routes.

In April last year, some 950 people are thought to have died when a boat carrying around 1,000 people sank in the Mediterranean. Around 300 died because smugglers had locked them in the hold.