German aid group ResQship reported that at least two migrants have died and about 20 are missing after their vessel sank in the Mediterranean between Tunisia and Italy.
The group’s ship, the Nadir, rescued 22 people and took them to the Italian island of Lampedusa. Men, women, and children from Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Mali, including a pregnant woman, were among those rescued.
The boat’s crew also recovered the bodies of two men. Stefan Seyfert of ResQship stated that about 40 migrants were on the boat when it left Sfax in Tunisia. “We didn’t manage to save more people, but we did everything we could,” Mr Seyfert said, acknowledging the “good co-operation” with the Italian coastguard.
ResQship tweeted that by the time its team arrived at the scene of the wreck, the migrants had already been in the water for about two hours.
The Italian news agency Ansa reported that nine women were among the survivors, and 18 people were missing.
The authorities believe that the migrants paid 3,000 Tunisian dinars (about $980) each to the smugglers to secure passage on the boat
Mediterranean Sea Disasters
This incident is only the latest disaster in the Mediterranean Sea, where dozens of migrants trying to cross have drowned, and dozens more have had to be rescued from flimsy boats.
West Africans, Sudanese, and others increasingly use unseaworthy craft for the perilous attempts to reach safety and better lives in Europe.
Italy has been complaining for some time about the number of migrants arriving on its shores.
According to the Interior Ministry, more than 14,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since the start of the year.
This is significantly more than the 5,300 who arrived in the same period in 2022 and the 4,300 who arrived in 2021. Many have criticized the EU for its handling of the crisis, calling for a more humanitarian approach to migration. The UN has urged countries to work together to address the root causes and provide better protection for those forced to flee their homes.