Reports say that the vessel, which is thought to be three boats lashed together, began filling with water 90 minutes after beginning its journey, when the engine failed and the passengers began drowning.

In light of the event, Libyan fishermen in small boats took part in rescuing 134 survivors, who were returned to Libya by the coastguard.

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Because the European Union withdrew search and rescue operations, rescue operations regarding these incidents are now up to Libyan coastguard and local fishers and volunteers.

Although the number of people crossing the Mediterranean, reaching Europe, reduced by 17% in the first three months of 2019 in comparison to the same period in 2018, ITF alleges that a greater proportion are drowning and being lost at sea as the people traffickers are cramming more people into unseaworthy boats to make the crossing in unsafe conditions.