At least 60 migrants are reported to have drowned after their rubber dinghy went through harsh conditions carrying them across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy.

The charity rescue group SOS Mediterranee reported saving 25 individuals in a state of extreme weakness in collaboration with the Italian Coast Guard on March 14. Two unconscious individuals were airlifted to Sicily via helicopter.

“The survivors departed from Zawiya, Libya, seven days before they were rescued,” SOS Mediterranee posted on social media.

The survivors, who reported the death of the 60 people, said the engine of the dinghy broke down after three days, leaving the boat adrift without food or water.


“Survivors report that at least 60 people perished on the way, including women and at least one child,” SOS Mediterranee said, which spotted the boat using binoculars after it was drifting in the Libyan search and rescue area.

The United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it was “deeply troubled” by the report. “Urgent action is needed to strengthen maritime patrols and prevent further tragedies,” it said on a social media platform.

The IOM reported in early March that 2023 was the deadliest year for migrants since records began a decade ago, with at least 8,565 people dying on migration routes worldwide.

The Central Mediterranean is one of the riskiest sea migration routes in the world. The IOM reports that 226 migrants have died or disappeared since the beginning of 2024, and nearly 2,500 migrants used it last year.

In February, a consortium of charitable organizations linked the rise in migrants deaths since last year to a migration decree by Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni issued in January 2023.

The Italian law imposes limitations over the operations of sea rescue organizations, including a rule that the humanitarian vessels must promptly head to port following a rescue operation, instead of remaining at sea to search for other distressed migrants.

Italy and other European Union governments are trying to curb the number of sea migrants making the crossing from North Africa and have offered money or equipment to Libya and Tunisia to stop departures from their shores.

Italy, along with other European Union nations, is making efforts to reduce the influx of sea migrants traveling from North Africa by providing financial assistance and resources to Libya and Tunisia in order to prevent departures from their coasts.

In recent years, Italy and various other European nations have also implemented stringent immigration policies, leading to a rise in support for right-wing parties that promote a Europe without asylum seekers, particularly from Africa and West Asia. (