Migrants play soccer at an immigration center in Mineo, on the Italian island of Sicily, April 21, 2015.REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello
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The Tunisian captain of the migrant boat in which 800 people are feared to have drowned is set to be charged with mass murder over the Mediterranean's deadliest disaster in decades.Hundreds of the victims, including an unknown number of children, will have died in hellish circumstances having been locked in the hold or the middle deck of the 20-meter boat which keeled over in pitch darkness after colliding with a Portuguese container ship answering its distress call.Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has described the traffickers who packed their human cargo into the boat as akin to 18th-century slave traders.Prosecutors said the survivors had told them how they had been held for up to a month in disused factories in Libya before being packed onto the boat. Sunday's disaster was the worst in a series of migrant shipwrecks that have claimed more than 1,750 lives this year – 30 times higher than the same period in 2014 – and nearly 5,000 since the start of last year.Italian officials believe there could be up to one million more would-be immigrants to Europe waiting to board boats in conflict-torn Libya.Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Europe should follow his government's lead by deploying military forces to turn migrant boats back.
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