BEIRUT — The Army Command said Monday that it has thwarted a boat attempting to smuggle around 31 people, including women and children, by sea off the Qalamoun area, Tripoli, according to the state-run National News Agency.
Here’s what we know:
• According to the NNA, the army has arrested all passengers on board of the boat that was about to set sail from one of the tourist resorts in the area.
• Around 134 gallons of diesel fuel of 20 liters capacity were seized in addition to “30 [life] jackets, gallons of water and personal items,” all of which were on board of the ship, according to the army.
• The army also said that “an investigation was launched and follow-up is underway to arrest those involved in the smuggling operation.”
• Many people have been trying to illegally leave Lebanon by sea amid a worsening economic crisis. A boat carrying 120 would-be migrants, mostly Lebanese, with some Syrians and Palestinians, who thought they were headed toward Italy by sea, encountered technical issues last week in Greek territorial waters and were transferred to Greece, according to a video broadcast on social networks and reported by our correspondent in North Lebanon.
• In mid-June, the Lebanese Army arrested 34 Syrian and Lebanese migrants between the regions of Sarafand and Saida, in southern Lebanon, while they were making preparations before sailing clandestinely for Europe.
• Last April, a migrant boat was shipwrecked off Qalamoun in North Lebanon. Seven dead bodies were recovered and 45 people were rescued, while around 30 others are still missing.