ROME – An Italian aid group is reporting that a migrant smuggling ship with an estimated 150 people on board is in distress off Libya.
The Mediterranea Saving Humans group, which monitors migrant rescues, said Monday on Twitter that it heard about a distress call from a boat near Al Khoms, Libya. It appealed for Italian or Maltese coast guard ships to go to the area so the migrants aren't returned to Libya.
Italy has sought to boost the Libyan coast guard's abilities to conduct rescues in its search-and-rescue zone in the Mediterranean Sea so the migrants don't come to Europe. But aid groups say migrants face horrific conditions once they are returned to Libya, including facing beatings, torture and rape.