Mediterranean Sea claims more migrant lives off Tunisia, Turkey and Spain in one weekend

At least 112 migrants lost their lives on 3 June when their boat capsized off the Tunisian coast during an attempt to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

According to a statement from the Tunisian Defence Ministry, the coastguard managed to rescue 67 migrants during the incident.

The ministry’s press officer, Rachid Bouhawala, stated that the migrants were of various nationalities, including Tunisians, Moroccans, Libyans, and individuals from Sub-Saharan African nations.

According to reports, more than 180 migrants were aboard the boat, which became marooned off the island of Kerkennah, on a well-known migrant route to Europe along the Tunisian coast.

In a separate incident, the Turkish coastguard reported that nine people, including six children, died when a speedboat carrying 15 migrants sank off of the coast of Turkey’s southern province of Antalya on 3 June.

On the same weekend, Spain’s maritime rescue service said it rescued 240 people who were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa between Saturday and Sunday. One person drowned. The service claims to have saved the migrants from 11 small boats.

Against the backdrop of all these events, Italy’s new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and his anti-immigrant League party have reaffirmed commitments to reduce the flow of migrants into the country.

Salvini has promised not only to block the arrival of migrant boats from Africa, but also to deport up to 100,000 illegal immigrants every year.

“Italy and Sicily cannot be Europe’s refugee camp,” he told a crowd of supporters in the port town of Pozzallo. “Nobody will take away my certainty that illegal immigration is a business and seeing people make money on children who go on to die makes me furious,” Salvini said.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations’ agency for migration, reported last week that 30,300 migrants and refugees entered Europe in the first 147 days of 2018.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 857 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean since the beginning of 2018.

According to IOM, the incident off of the Tunisian coast is the deadliest smuggling boat disaster this year to date.


TMP – 11/07/2018

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