The migrants were from various sub-Saharan African countries, he revealed.
Libya is the popular departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea. More than 600,000 crossed the central Mediterranean to Italy in the past four years, the vast majority from Libya.
The UN migration agency said through mid-April of this year, 18,575 migrants and refugees arrived in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain by crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
The International Organization for Migration said that is less than half of last year’s pace.
More notable is the steep decline this year, to 9 percent, of the number of arrivals in Europe from 2016, which exceeded 200,000.
And yet, some of these attempts to flee conflict and poverty proved fatal.
Last year, 3,116 people died attempting the crossing, according to the IOM, including 2,833 from Libya.