Baby among 13 dead after migrant boats sink off Italian coast
During the weekend, 13 migrants drowned after migrant ships carrying them sank in the Mediterranean Sea.
The ship sank off Tunisia’s Kerkennah Islands on Sunday, with 11 bodies recovered. There are still 44 people missing, and only two have been rescued.
One woman from Ivory Coast and her 1-year-old baby died after two ships sank off Lampedusa, an Italian island.
There are believed to be more than 30 people who were on those two vessels who are missing.
According to reports, they left from the Tunisian port city of Sfax carrying 48 and 42 passengers, respectively. A total of 57 people were rescued by Italian coastguards after they sank on Saturday.
All three sinkings are said to have been caused by migrants from sub-Saharan African countries. The incidents are being investigated by Italian authorities.
A beach near Sfax was also found to be littered with the bodies of ten migrants, Tunisian officials claimed.
According to the AFP news agency, their boat may have been sunk during a windstorm between Friday and Saturday.
According to Tunisian authorities, Sfax is a popular gateway for migrants seeking a better life in Europe, about 80 miles (130km) from Lampedusa.
In June, 78 people were killed and hundreds were missing in the Greek boat disaster.
According to Al Arabiya, Tunisian state television, another 34 migrants found stranded near Lampedusa on Sunday were rescued.
Italian patrol boats and charity groups have rescued another 2,000 people on the island in recent days.
Food, water, clothes, and emergency thermal blankets have been provided by the Red Cross to some migrants.
However, bad weather and poor boat quality continue to hamper rescue efforts, according to the coastguard.
It is not uncommon for traffickers to steal engines from boats at sea to reuse.
“This sea is sending them to slaughter,” police chief Emanuele Ricifari said to the traffickers. “Rough seas are forecast for the next few days. Let’s hope they stop.”
NGOs say the far-right government in Italy has made their task more difficult by passing laws that require rescue ships to use distant ports.
There have been warnings from charities that this increases their navigation costs and reduces the amount of time they can patrol the Mediterranean.
Compared to the same period in 2022, migration by sea increased by 92,000 this year, according to the Italian interior ministry.
In the central Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Europe, more than 1,800 people have died.
It is likely that the actual number is much higher, according to the International Organization for Migration.