Migrant boat from Senegal carrying 200 people missing off Canary Islands
A boat carrying at least 200 African migrants has gone missing more than a week ago off the Canary Islands. Spanish rescuers are searching the waters.
The fishing boat sailed from Kafountine, a coastal town in southern Senegal roughly 1,700km (1,057 miles) from Tenerife, according to Walking Borders.
As reported by Spain’s Efe news agency, many children are aboard.
There are also reports of two similar boats carrying dozens more people missing.
Approximately 200 people boarded the boat on 27 June, heading for the Canary Islands.
It has been reported that a plane has joined the search, according to Spain’s maritime rescue service.
In terms of the other two boats, there are few details available. Reuters reports that Walking Borders’ Helena Maleno estimates 65 people are on board one boat, 60 on the other, bringing the total number of missing people on board the three boats to over 300.
It comes just weeks after the sinking of an overcrowded trawler off the coast of Greece, which was one of the worst Mediterranean migrant shipwrecks in recent memory.
Up to 500 people remain missing, according to the UN, with at least 78 drownings confirmed.
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In addition to the strong Atlantic currents, the voyage from West Africa to the Canary Islands is among the most dangerous routes for migrants.
According to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 559 people died at sea trying to reach the Spanish islands last year. There were 1,126 deaths in 2021.
In 2022, Spain’s Interior Ministry reported 15,682 irregular immigrants arrived in the Canary Islands, a decrease of 30% from 2021.
According to the IOM, flows along this dangerous route have remained high since 2020 despite year-to-year declines.