89 migrants dead after Mauritania capsizing

Image credit: The Guardian

Nearly 90 migrants heading for Europe died, and dozens more are missing after their boat capsized off Mauritania’s coast earlier this week. The state news agency and a local official reported the tragedy on Thursday.

According to the state news agency, “The Mauritanian coast guard recovered the bodies of 89 people aboard a large traditional fishing boat that capsized on Monday, July 1, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean,” about four kilometers (2.5 miles) from Ndiago, a city in the southwest of the country.

Survivors said the boat had set sail from the border of Senegal and Gambia with 170 passengers, meaning 72 people are still missing. A senior local government official confirmed this information to AFP on condition of anonymity.

The coastguard managed to rescue nine people, including a five-year-old girl, as reported by the state news agency.

The Atlantic route is particularly dangerous due to strong currents, and migrants often travel in overloaded, unseaworthy boats without sufficient drinking water. Despite the dangers, this route has become more popular due to increased vigilance in the Mediterranean.

In 2023, the number of migrants landing in Spain’s Canary Islands more than doubled in one year, reaching a record 39,910, according to the Spanish government. The Canary Islands, located off the coast of North Africa, are about 100 km away at their closest point. However, many boats, often long wooden vessels known as pirogues, set sail from much further away, including Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Gambia, and Senegal.

A Spanish charity, Caminando Fronteras, reported that more than 5,000 migrants died while trying to reach Spain by sea in the first five months of this year, averaging 33 deaths per day. This is the highest daily number of deaths since the charity began recording figures in 2007, with most of the fatalities occurring on the Atlantic route.

The tragedy off the coast of Mauritania highlights the ongoing risks faced by migrants attempting to reach Europe and the increasing danger of the Atlantic migration route.

Re-reported from the article originally published in The Guardian.

89 migrants dead after Mauritania capsizing

Image credit: The Guardian

Nearly 90 migrants heading for Europe died, and dozens more are missing after their boat capsized off Mauritania’s coast earlier this week. The state news agency and a local official reported the tragedy on Thursday.

According to the state news agency, “The Mauritanian coast guard recovered the bodies of 89 people aboard a large traditional fishing boat that capsized on Monday, July 1, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean,” about four kilometers (2.5 miles) from Ndiago, a city in the southwest of the country.

Survivors said the boat had set sail from the border of Senegal and Gambia with 170 passengers, meaning 72 people are still missing. A senior local government official confirmed this information to AFP on condition of anonymity.

The coastguard managed to rescue nine people, including a five-year-old girl, as reported by the state news agency.

The Atlantic route is particularly dangerous due to strong currents, and migrants often travel in overloaded, unseaworthy boats without sufficient drinking water. Despite the dangers, this route has become more popular due to increased vigilance in the Mediterranean.

In 2023, the number of migrants landing in Spain’s Canary Islands more than doubled in one year, reaching a record 39,910, according to the Spanish government. The Canary Islands, located off the coast of North Africa, are about 100 km away at their closest point. However, many boats, often long wooden vessels known as pirogues, set sail from much further away, including Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Gambia, and Senegal.

A Spanish charity, Caminando Fronteras, reported that more than 5,000 migrants died while trying to reach Spain by sea in the first five months of this year, averaging 33 deaths per day. This is the highest daily number of deaths since the charity began recording figures in 2007, with most of the fatalities occurring on the Atlantic route.

The tragedy off the coast of Mauritania highlights the ongoing risks faced by migrants attempting to reach Europe and the increasing danger of the Atlantic migration route.

Re-reported from the article originally published in The Guardian.