TRIPOLI, March 13 (Xinhua) -- An oil tanker on Tuesday rescued 23 illegal immigrants off western Libyan coast, Libya's Coast and Port Security Department said later Tuesday.
"This morning, an oil tanker rescued 23 illegal Sudanese immigrants off Bouri oilfield, after their boat broke down on the sea, leaving them stranded for several days," the department said.
Bouri is an offshore oilfield located some 120 km northwest of the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean.
The immigrants were provided with humanitarian assistance and taken to a reception center in the capital Tripoli, the department added.
Libya is a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal immigrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, due to the state of insecurity and chaos in the north African nation.
In December last year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that it voluntarily deported more than 16,000 illegal immigrants from Libya to their countries of origin, as part of the organization's voluntary return program.