BRUSSELS, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The Council of the European Union (EU) on Monday slapped restrictions on the supply of inflatable boats and outboard motors to Libya, in a bid to rein in migrant smuggling from the North African country to Europe through the central Mediterranean Sea.
The sanctions got the stamp of approval following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
The Council of the EU said it had put restrictions in place on "certain products which may be used to facilitate the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings, notably dinghies and outboard motors."
The restrictions will also apply to dinghies and motors which are transiting through the EU en route to Libya, but it will not prevent the export or sales of these goods when they are meant for legitimate uses by the civilian population, for instance for fishermen.
Libya has been a breeding ground for human trafficking as tens of thousands of migrants have used the country as a springboard to get to Europe since 2015.
European Council President Donald Tusk earlier this month at the G20 summit in Hamburg branded migrant smuggling as an "organized business" which generated 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in Libya alone last year.
According to the European Commission, since January, there have been 85,183 migrant and refugee arrivals in Italy through the central Mediterranean Sea route. More than 2,000 migrants died taking the risky journey. In 2016, over 181,000 people arrived in the EU through the same route.
As the deadliest route for migrants last year, the central Mediterranean claimed the lives of 4,576 people, according to the International Organization for Migration.