Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

The Libyan navy rescued 252 migrants Saturday who were trying to reach Europe, in two separate operations off the country’s western coast.

“We were alerted … to the position of a migrant boat” around 30 kilometres (20 miles) off Zawiya, west of Tripoli, navy Captain Rami al-Hadi Ghomed said.

He said the 140 migrants on board, including 14 women and four children, were brought back to Tripoli’s naval base before being transferred to a detention center.

Since the 2011 fall and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, unruly Libya has become a key launching pad for migrants making desperate bids to reach Europe, often on unseaworthy vessels.

The second rescue operation took place around 50 kilometers off Garabulli, east of the capital.

The navy rescued “112 migrants, including 30 women and three children, aboard an inflatable boat,” said navy spokesman Ayoub Kacem.

Recent years have seen thousands of migrants infiltrate the vast southern border of Libya in attempts to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

The situation has deteriorated since Gadhafi‘s fall as lawlessness and insecurity have pushed more migrants already present in Libya to attempt the perilous crossing.

At least 337 migrants have died or disappeared off the coast of Libya since the start of the year, according to the International Organization for Migration. (AFP)

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<p>African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, sit at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, sit at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>A migrant carries a child at a naval base after they were rescued by the Libyan coast guard in Tripoli, Libya, March 10, 2018. (Photo: Hani Amara/Reuters) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

A migrant carries a child at a naval base after they were rescued by the Libyan coast guard in Tripoli, Libya, March 10, 2018. (Photo: Hani Amara/Reuters)

<p>Migrants are seen at a naval base after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard in Tripoli, Libya, March 10, 2018. (Photo: Hani Amara/Reuters) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

Migrants are seen at a naval base after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard in Tripoli, Libya, March 10, 2018. (Photo: Hani Amara/Reuters)

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<p>A migrant is seen at a naval base after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard in Tripoli, Libya, March 10, 2018. (Photo: Hani Amara/Reuters) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

A migrant is seen at a naval base after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard in Tripoli, Libya, March 10, 2018. (Photo: Hani Amara/Reuters)

<p>An African migrant flashes the victory gesture after disembarking following his rescue from off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

An African migrant flashes the victory gesture after disembarking following his rescue from off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>An African migrant carries a child while walking on a dock at the Libyan capital Tripoli’s naval base on March 10, 2018, after disembarking following rescue from off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the capital. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

An African migrant carries a child while walking on a dock at the Libyan capital Tripoli’s naval base on March 10, 2018, after disembarking following rescue from off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the capital. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, sit at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, sit at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Migrants are seen at a naval base after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard in Tripoli, Libya, March 10, 2018. (Photo: Hani Amara/Reuters) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

Migrants are seen at a naval base after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard in Tripoli, Libya, March 10, 2018. (Photo: Hani Amara/Reuters)

<p>African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, sit at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, sit at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, disembark at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, disembark at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, sit at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, sit at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Workers from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) tend to African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, as they sit at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

Workers from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) tend to African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zawiyah, about 45 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, as they sit at the dock at the capital’s naval base on March 10, 2018. (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>Migrants are seen at a naval base after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard in Tripoli, Libya, March 10, 2018. (Photo: Hani Amara/Reuters) </p>
Hundreds of migrants rescued off Libyan coast

Migrants are seen at a naval base after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard in Tripoli, Libya, March 10, 2018. (Photo: Hani Amara/Reuters)

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