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Dozens of Europe-bound migrants missing off Tunisia’s coast

Rescue groups searched Wednesday for dozens of individuals reported lacking after a ship carrying migrants from Libya to Europe capsized off Tunisia’s coast.

The International Organization for Migration stated 30 individuals had been rescued and 75 individuals had been unaccounted for after the boat sank off town of Sfax in southern Tunisia. One physique has been recovered, authorities stated.

Mourad Turki, a Sfax courts spokesperson, informed The Associated Press that the individuals rescued had been between the ages of 18 and 40 and of assorted nationalities, together with Bangladeshi, Egyptian, Moroccan and Cameroonian.

The quantity believed to be lacking was provisional and will enhance, Turki stated. The search continued Wednesday, in keeping with International Organization for Migration spokesperson Esma Rihane.

The boat reportedly departed from Zuwara in north Libya on Sunday night time. According to the Sfax National Guard, the vessel ran aground 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the island of Kerkennah, off Tunisia’s coast, though it was unclear precisely when.

Zuwara serves as a departure level for migrants trying to succeed in southern Europe by sea. Last July, a ship carrying 127 migrants from Zuwara sank off Zarzis, a port in southern Tunisia, leaving 43 individuals lacking.

In a mission separate from the Tunisian navy’s ongoing search, the non-governmental group Open Arms performed a rescue operation late Tuesday in an space off the coast of Tunisia.

Dramatic pictures and movies from the Spanish maritime rescue group confirmed dozens of individuals within the water and clinging to the facet of an upturned boat.

Head of mission Gerard Canals stated the group was alerted of a doable vessel in misery late Tuesday and situated the boat after 4 hours of navigation.

“A wooden boat with over 100 people was left adrift very close to the Tunisian territorial waters….It was overcrowded” Canals stated. “During the rescue operation, the wooden boat capsized but we managed to take these 110 people on board on different life rafts that we deployed during the night.”

The Open Arms rescue ship is in search of a protected port to disembark, he stated.

“We need the authorities to act immediately,” Canals said. “The weather will deteriorate very soon and we (do not have enough) space, food or water to provide the people on board.”

The central Mediterranean, which connects Libya and different North African international locations to Italy and Malta, is the world’s most harmful migration route, in keeping with the IOM.

The U.N. company estimates that greater than 1,500 individuals died or went lacking in that a part of the ocean in 2021 and greater than 500 have perished to this point this 12 months.

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Follow AP’s protection of migration points at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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