Mourners attend a funeral service for 24 migrants who drowned earlier this year trying to reach the southern coast of Italy. (Alessandra Tarantino / AP)

The discovery of roughly 50 dead migrants in the hull of a boat off Libya’s northern coast Wednesday adds to the more than 2,400 refugees who have died this year while trying to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.

The Associated Press reports via The Guardian:

Italy’s coastguard says the Swedish ship Poseidon, which is taking part in the EU’s Triton Mediterranean operation, rescued 439 people from the [boat].

The rescue was one of 10 requests for assistance that arrived at the coastguard’s operations centre as Libya-based smugglers take advantage of calm seas to send boats overloaded with migrants to Europe.

The toll was similar to the estimated 40 migrants who died, apparently from fuel fumes, on 15 August.

Migrants by the tens of thousands are braving the perilous journey across the Mediterranean this year, hoping to reach Europe and be granted asylum. They are fleeing war, persecution and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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