At least ten bodies were found near the Libyan coast next to an inflatable boat that sank around 130 migrants on board in the Mediterranean Sea, according to information released Thursday by the NGO SOS Méditerranée (22).
“Since our arrival on the site, we have not found any survivors, despite the fact that we saw at least ten bodies near the wreckage” of the boat, explained in a note Luisa Albera, search and rescue coordinator on board. from Ocean Viking, the NGO humanitarian ship.
“We have no hope of finding any survivors,” said Emmanuelle Chaze, journalist part of the ship’s crew, in a telephone interview with the AFP news agency.
SOS Méditerranée received on Tuesday (20) an alert on the presence of three ships in international waters near the Libyan coast. The warning was sent by a group of volunteers who reported on migrants in difficulty on the high seas. Then, the Ocean Viking and freighters approached the area, despite the difficult sailing conditions, with heavy waves. six meters.
One of the merchant ships found three bodies of dead migrants, then a device from Frontex, the European border control agency, found the remains of the inflatable boat.
The routes from Africa to Europe via the Mediterranean have been strengthened in recent years, which does not prevent attempts on this route or across the Atlantic to the Canary Islands, for example.
In this case, the crossings can be as good or more dangerous as they are expensive. Fisherman Djiby Dieng, 21, told AFP news agency that the crossing generally costs between 150,000 and 300,000 CFA francs (1,400 to 2,800 reais) per person, an amount equivalent to more than two months income of a fisherman. In some cases, family and friends make a “kitty” to collect the money.
For his crossing, Dieng did not pay, as he made a deal to be one of the pilots. Travelers left the coast in small boats, which passed unnoticed among the dozens of fishing boats.
Then, on the high seas, they went to a large canoe, about 20 meters, where they would make the crossing. However, they are not always able to reach their destination. “There were 131 of us. There were people of all ages, young, old. But we ran out of water and food. We had about 15 dehydrated people. So, near the Moroccan coast, we decided to stop, ”says Dieng.
This year alone, at least 453 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, most on the central route connecting the coasts of Tunisia and Libya to those of Italy.