Wednesday, August 09, 2023
By
Web Desk

Migrant shipwreck claims 41 lives off Lampedusa island in Italy

As many as 1,800 people died this year while entering Europe from North Africa

By
Web Desk
Migrants in a small wooden boat wait to be rescued by the German NGO migrant rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 in international waters off the coast of Libya, in the western Mediterranean Sea, August 1, 2021. — Reuters
Migrants in a small wooden boat wait to be rescued by the German NGO migrant rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 in international waters off the coast of Libya, in the western Mediterranean Sea, August 1, 2021. — Reuters

  • A migrant ship carried a total of 45 people.
  • Boat departed from Sfax and sank within hours.
  • Three men and a woman survived the shipwreck.


As many as 41 people are reported to have lost their lives after a migrant ship with a total of 45 people including three children sank off Lampedusa island in Italy Wednesday, according to the rescuers.

The boat departed from Sfax in Tunisia and sank within hours while it was on its way to Italy, according to a group of four people who survived the shipwreck.

Reports indicate that the survivors — three men and a woman — are from the Ivory Coast and Guinea and arrived island of Lampedusa Wednesday.

As many as 1,800 people died this year while entering Europe from North Africa.

According to the Tunisian authorities, the port city of Sfax — located about 80 miles (130km) from Lampedusa — is an important gateway for the migrants entering Europe hoping to get a better life.

Rescuers were told by the survivors that they were on a boat carrying 45 people, including three children.

The survivors noted that their boat left Sfax Thursday last week, but it sank within hours, according to BBC, adding that they were rescued by a cargo ship and then transferred to an Italian coast guard vessel.

On Sunday, the Italian coast guard reported two shipwrecks but it was not clear whether the vessel of the survivors was among one of those.

The latest incident comes days after a judicial official said Monday that four people lost their lives while 51 others went missing in a shipwreck off Tunisia's coast.

Survivors of the reported sinking, near Tunisia's Kerkennah Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, said the makeshift boat had departed over the weekend from a beach north of the coastal city of Sfax with 57 migrants on board.

As of Monday in the early afternoon, "four bodies have been recovered, two migrants have been rescued and 51 are reported missing," said Faouzi Masmoudi, spokesman for the court in Tunisia's second city Sfax.

Nearly 90,000 migrants have arrived in Italy this year, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, with most of them having embarked from Tunisia or neighbouring Libya.

The central Mediterranean migrant crossing from North Africa to Europe is the world's deadliest with more than 20,000 fatalities since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.