A boat carrying migrants bound for Europe has crashed off the coast of Tunisia. According to the United Nations, there are dozens of missing people.
According to the UN, 76 migrants are missing after a shipwreck off the coast of Tunisia. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on Twitter on Wednesday that 24 people had been rescued.
The rescue operation near the city of Sfax continues. The boat had therefore left the city of Suwara in western Libya. IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo tweeted that 650 people had died in the Mediterranean this year. “Yet the appeal to strengthen the system of sea search and rescue patrols goes unheeded,” he wrote.
Another shipwreck had occurred off Tunisia the night before, when an overcrowded wooden boat with 110 people capsized, as the German rescue organization Resqship announced. Their sailing boat “Nadir”, together with the sailing boat “Astral” of the Spanish aid organization Open Arms, was able to transport people who had fallen into the water on board or on life rafts.
When boats from the Tunisian coast guard approached in the morning, the shipwrecked panicked because they did not want to be taken back to Tunisia, according to a statement from Resqship. Some people jumped from the life rafts into the water. The Coast Guard then ordered the sailboats to take everyone on board. The “Astral” set off with the survivors in the direction of the Italian island of Lampedusa, where they hoped to be able to dock.
Migrants who want to go to Europe on overcrowded and often unseaworthy boats die again and again in the Mediterranean Sea. Above all, Tunisia’s neighbor Libya has become an important transit country for migrants who want to go to Europe because of the unstable political situation resulting from the local civil war.