After a migrant boat sank off Lampedusa, on November 23, divers recovered more bodies from the scene, increasing the death toll to 18. The vessel was carrying 170 people, and sank around 1.5 nm off the island of Lampedusa.
As the German NGO “Sea-Eye” reports they were shot in warning by Libyan-flagged speedboats to stop the volunteer rescue staff during a SAR operation, when they tried to save migrants off Libyan territorial seas. Both speedboats were flying under the Libyan flag, and one of them had a mounted machine gun towards the bow.
According to ITF, the so called ‘the deadliest shipwreck in the Mediterranean so far this year’ took place in late July, where up to 150 migrants and refugees are feared drowned in attempts of crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe after their boat capsized off Libya.
Over 80 migrants are missing and presumed dead, while only three have survived, after a boat capsized and sank off the coast of Tunisia, in waters near the town of Zarzis. The three Malians who were rescued said that they had set out from Zuwara in Libya.
Six have lost their lives after a boat that was transporting migrants sank off the Greek island of Mytilene, on May 11. According to sources, another 58 people were rescued, which were then transported to the port of Mytilene. Moreover, boats of the Greek Navy and Frontex, as well as a super puma helicopter are also taking part in the search and rescue operation in the area.
At least 10 migrants lost their lives on March 19, when their boat sank off the Libyan coast near the western town of Sabratha. 17 others were rescued, a Sabratha’s security operations spokesman, said, and were transferred to the hospital. The United Nations migration agency IOM informed that 15 survivors were brought to a hospital, but it did not know how many people had been on board the boat.
On March 8, the crew of the US Navy destroyer USS James E. Williams helped rescue 26 people from a vessel in distress 48 miles southeast of Long Key attempting to illegally enter the United States. The US Coast Guard received a notification from a good Samaritan boat reporting for a 30-foot disabled wooden sail vessel with passengers waiving for help.
British lifeboats and Border Force vessels rescued more than 30 migrants and refugees, including a child, off Dover, Kent in their attempt to cross the English Channel to England in a dangerously overcrowded small boat. Specifically, their boat was so full that a Border Force rigid inflatable boat had to make two journeys to take them to a cutter.
UN Refugee Agency published a report according to which apporximately 2.275 people died or went missing in attempts to cross the Mediterranean in 2018, despite an important decrease in arrivals reaching European shores. Overall, 139.300 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe, marking the lowest number in five years. The latest ‘Desperate Journeys’ report, released by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, says six lives were lost on average every day.
Following announcement that a total of 200 migrants have lost their lives worldwide in the first three weeks of 2019, the number now has climbed to 226 for the period 1st-31st January. ECSA criticised Germany’s decision to leave Operation Sophia, calling on EU states to “set aside the disputes and decide on how to cope with the refugees rescued in the Mediterranean”.
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