Germany favours ban on boat exports to Libya to stop migrants
The German government says it would support a ban on the export of boats from the European Union to Libya as part of measures to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean. Smugglers use often rickety vessels to ferry thousands of migrants from the north African country to Europe each month.
Mass drownings are common when the overloaded boats capsize or sink.
In a response to questions from Left Party lawmakers, the German government says it considers "imposing restrictive measures" on EU exports of boats, engines and vehicles to Libya to be an appropriate measure to crack down on people smuggling.
The response, obtained today by The Associated Press, also confirms that the EU naval mission deployed to stop illegal migration uses submarines for "covert reconnaissance" in the region.
Libya is the main departure point for migrants hoping to reach Europe by sea, and more than 150,000 have made the crossing from Libya to Italy in each of the past three years.
Smugglers put most of the migrants in flimsy inflatable dinghies that get picked up by rescue ships and other vessels once they reach international waters. Some are intercepted and turned back by the Libyan coastguard.
About 100 illegal migrants have been reported as missing off the Libyan coast near Tripoli on Thursday.