Hundreds Feared Dead After Sinking of Ship near Malta

Awful news off the coast of Malta:

Hundreds of migrants may have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in recent days, bringing the number of victims so far this year to more than four times last year’s total, the International Organization of Migration said Monday.

About 500 people, mainly from Egypt, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Sudan, are feared dead after their vessel was allegedly sunk by human traffickers off Malta’s coast last week. Another 200 may have drowned off the coast of Libya over the weekend, an IOM spokesman said.

The vessel off Malta appeared to have been rammed by human traffickers after the passengers refused to board another ship that was considered not seaworthy, the IOM spokesman said. Details weren’t yet clear, the spokesman added.

Pope Francis has done a great service by bringing this issue into the limelight. More must be done to avert these humanitarian catastrophes.