The Libyan Coast Guard has confirmed that 18 illegal immigrants have drowned off Al-Zawiya shores.

The boat the immigrants were on had 70 people on board, 51 of whom were rescued by the Libyan coastguards and one body was recovered.

Last Sunday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said 16 immigrants drowned and 48 were rescued.

IOM said 20257 immigrants were either intercepted or rescued off Libyan coast since the start of 2021, which is approximately the same number as the the entire 2020, while it said that from January up until last July, 970 people died trying to reach Europe via the Libyan coast.