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Many hundreds feared dead after another migrant vessel capsizes

Many hundreds feared dead after another migrant vessel capsizes
A vessel carrying as many as 700 migrants has capsized in Mediterranean, with “hundreds” of lives feared to have been lost.

So far only 28 people have been rescued, as well as 24 bodies retrieved.

The 20m long vessel capsized at midnight local time on Saturday, 17 miles off the Libyan coast, after distressed migrants rushed to one side to attract the attention of passing merchant vessel King Jacob, tipping the boat.

Cargo vessels, as well as Italian and Maltese navy and coastguard ships and three helicopters are currently on-scene.

Reports from some of the migrants indicate those on lower levels of the boat had been locked in by the smugglers. “In time it will be a search [for bodies] only,” a spokesman for the Italian coastguard was quoted by the BBC.

The news follows the deaths of a feared 400 migrants last week under similar circumstances.

At the opening of the Panama Maritime XII conference on April 12, IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu said “We are concerned by the problem of migrants... 2014 was a record year for the losses of lives of migrants - this is why we will hold a conference at the end of April in Philippines for ending migration problems,” having previously referred to people smuggling as a “humanitarian tragedy” that was stretching authorities “to breaking point” in the Med.