The Libyan Navy on Wednesday said it has rescued 7,036 illegal immigrants this year so far, compared with 12,365 illegal immigrants rescued from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 last year, a 43.1% decline.
In a statement issued later Wednesday, the Navy's information office said that 11 bodies of illegal immigrants had been recovered off Libyan shores by the end of September, compared with 88 during the same period last year.
Libya has become a preferred departure point for refugees hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe because of insecurity and chaos in the North African country following the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Migrant shelters there are crowded with people who have been rescued at sea or arrested by Libyan security services.
The UN Higher Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration have demanded closing the immigration reception centers in Libya, stressing that Libya is not a safe port for disembarkation of immigrants due to its deteriorating security condition.