41 migrants die after boat sinks near Italy

Rome, Aug 9 (EFE).- Forty-one people died after their vessel sank off the coast of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, four survivors of the shipwreck told the Italian coast guard.

The boat carrying 45 migrants, including three children, left the port of Sfax in Tunisia, before capsizing about six hours later after being hit by a large wave, local media reported Wednesday.

After being rescued by a passing motorboat, the four survivors – three men and a woman from Ivory Coast and Guinea – were transferred to a Coast Guard patrol boat that landed them in Lampedusa.

Only 15 of the migrants, who were traveling in a precarious metal vessel, were wearing life jackets, but they drowned anyway, the migrants added in their account to Italian social services and the mediators of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who work regularly on Lampedusa, the closest Italian territory to Africa.

On Saturday, two other shipwrecks were reported off Lampedusa in which 34 people died, according to accounts of the 57 people who were rescued, although only three bodies could be found in the midst of a heavy storm.

The migrant reception center on Lampedusa, which has a capacity for 300 people, is currently housing more than 1,500 people. That figure was as high as 2,500 on earlier in the week before authorities resumed migrant transfers to other parts of the island or to the Italian mainland.

About 1,100 of the center’s 1,577 migrants are scheduled to be transferred on Wednesday to Porto Empedocle and Augusta.

According to the latest data from the Italian Interior Ministry, 92,000 migrants have landed on Italian shores so far this year and up to August 4, more than double the 42,640 of the same period last year.

More than 2,000 migrants died or disappeared in the first half of 2023 trying to cross the Mediterranean from the Middle East and North Africa, according to the International Migration Organisation. EFE


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