Libyan coastguards, on Monday, intercepted multiple vessels transporting more than 500 migrants. One of the small vessels coasting near the western city of Sabratha – 70 kilometers west of the capital Tripoli – had some 100 migrants aboard, Reuters reported citing naval coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem said.
The remaining three boats, which carried some 400 people, was seized off Garabulli, east of Tripoli. The migrants, Qassem disclosed, were mainly from North Africa, with 18 Libyans included among the group.
According to the spokesperson, all four inflatable boats were observed off the western coast of the country.
The migrants are reportedly being housed at a government-run detention facility in Tripoli.
Libya is the main thoroughfare for migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea. As a result, the European Union and Italy have partnered to provide support for Libyan coastguards to intercept all migrants who could possibly be head to that region.
According to the Italian interior ministry, some 6,660 migrants have crossed to Italy from Libya so far this year, 80% less than the same period last year.
The overall majority of migrants are sub-Saharan Africans.