The toll of misery was revealed by senior Royal Navy officers leading Britain’s Mediterranean rescue mission off the Libyan coast. Britain’s amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark has helped save around 4,000 refugees before they drowned having set sail in unseaworthy boats.
The ship’s 350-strong company of sailors and Royal Marines is bracing itself to rescue a further 3,000. Captain Nick Cooke-Priest said: “Indications are that there are 450,000 to 500,000 migrants in Libya who are waiting at the border.”
As he spoke, intelligence reports were warning Bulwark’s crew, which is among about 11 rescue vessels in the central Mediterranean, of thousands more migrants in the water. Britain is working with the Italian navy on Operation Weald to rescue migrants who have fallen prey to people smuggling gangs in Libya.
Half a million refugees gather in Libya to attempt perilous crossing to Europe | World news | The Guardian (external - login to view)