MONASTIR, TUNISIA – A boat carrying Sudanese asylum seekers capsized off the coast of Tunisia on Thursday. The incident reportedly led to the death of 13 individuals and left 27 others unaccounted for, according to a court spokesperson.
Farid Ben Jha, representative of the city of Monastir’s court, disclosed that only two survivors were known among the 42 passengers who had sailed on the boat from the town of Jebiniana, near Sfax.
Jha stated that an investigation has been launched, alluding to the probability of the migrants being victims of human trafficking or part of a racket aiming to trespass into Europe illegally.
As found in preliminary probe outcomes, the travelers were all refugees from the conflict-ridden nation of Sudan and had registered with the United Nations’ refugee agency. They had embarked on their perilous journey in a hurriedly assembled patchwork of metal scrap.
Rescue efforts to trace the missing occupants of the boat were ongoing. Tunisia and Libya serve as the key starting points for innumerable irregular migrants, who gamble with their lives each year, striving to land on European soil in search of more prosperous existence.
The National Guard has provided data indicating a significant surge in such instances, intercepting 69,963 irregular migrants in the initial 11 months of 2023. These figures represent over double the extent of cases in 2022’s comparative period.
Over 2,270 people lost their lives while striving to navigate across the central Mediterranean during 2023, marking a 60 percent escalation compared to the preceding year, based on information from the International Organization for Migration.