Tunis: Tunisia’s Coast Guard recovered on Saturday the bodies of 14 African migrants who drowned when their boat carrying more than 80 people sank after setting off for Europe from neighbouring Libya.
Tunisian fishermen rescued four people but one later died in hospital, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), said on Thursday. The others on the overcrowded boat were feared drowned, said Reuters and Wam on Sunday.
More than 80 migrants went missing at sea following a shipwreck, which occurred on Wednesday off the coast of Zarzis in Tunisia.
A rubber dinghy, which had departed from Libya, sank on Wednesday off the coast of Zarzis. One of the five survivors, a man from Ivory Coast, later died in hospital, reported the Italian news agency ANSAmed.
Local authorities said the Tunisian Red Cross and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) are working in coordination with Tunisian authorities on search-and-rescue efforts at sea, together with some local fishing boats, the ANSAmed report said.
The Reuters report said at least 65 migrants heading for Europe from Libya drowned last May when their boat capsized off Tunisia.
Libya’s west coast is a main departure point for African migrants hoping to reach Europe, though numbers have dropped due to an Italian-led effort to disrupt smuggling networks and support the Libyan Coast Guard, said the report.