According to the President’s spokesman, there are indications that the boat was overloaded and there is no official confirmation on the number of casualties.
“While efforts are ongoing to recover more survivors, the President extends his gratitude to all those involved in the rescue efforts and wishes those injured from the accident quick recovery,” the statement partly read.
The passengers were said to be heading to a market in Malele in Borgu local government area of Niger state when the boat sank an hour into the journey.
Local district administrator Abdullahi Buhari Wara earlier blamed the accident on overloading as the boat was meant to ferry no more than 80 passengers.
Boat tragedies are common on Nigerian waterways mostly due to overcrowding, bad weather and lack of maintenance, but Wednesday’s toll would be one of the deadliest recent accidents.
“The vessel was also loaded with bags of sand from a gold mine,” he said.
Early this month 30 people drowned when an overloaded boat capsized in Niger state.
The boat ferrying 100 local traders split into two after hitting a stump during a storm as they were returning from a local market, according to emergency officials.
The Niger is West Africa’s main river running in a crescent through Guinea to Nigeria’s Niger Delta and is a key local trade route for some of the countries.
Dozens of migrants jumped overboard from their rescue boat outside the Italian port of Palermo on Thursday, before being plucked from the waves by the coast guard.
Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish charity, said that 76 of the 276 migrants it had saved in the Mediterranean in its latest mission “threw themselves in the water in an attempt to reach the coast”.
“They are all safe, after being recovered by the Italian coast guard. Some 188 people remain on board, including women and children, two of whom are small,” it said in a statement.
The charity appealed to the Italian authorities to allow the remaining migrants to disembark.
The Open Arms ship has been waiting outside the Palermo port since yesterday, when it warned of a “critical situation” among the migrants, who were rescued in three operations between September 8-10 off the coasts of Malta and Libya.
A fishing boat carrying nearly 370 migrants landed overnight on the Italian island of Lampedusa, the country’s news agencies reported on Sunday, as a nearby humanitarian ship carrying another 350 people sought a port of disembarkation.
Italy has been struggling in recent months to deal with daily arrivals of hundreds of migrants to its southern shores, a task complicated by security measures imposed by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The boat carrying 367 people, which was in danger of sinking due to high winds, was escorted by the Italian coast guard and police to the island’s port, ANSA news agency said.
They were met at the port by a demonstration organised by the far-right, anti-immigrant League party.
The migrants, whose nationalities were not known, underwent temperature checks before they were taken to an emergency reception centre on the island which now houses some 1,160 people, 10 times its maximum capacity, Lampedusa’s mayor, Toto Martello, told ANSA.
About 30 other small boats, mostly from the Tunisian coast, had already reached the island since Friday carrying some 500 migrants, the Italian press reported.
“Lampedusa can no longer cope with this situation. Either the government takes immediate decisions or the whole island will go on strike. We can’t manage the emergency and the situation is now really unsustainable,” Martello told ANSA.
Nello Musumeci, the right-leaning leader of sister island Sicily, on Sunday wrote on Facebook that he would ask the government for a meeting on the “humanitarian and health crisis”.
“Lampedusa can’t do it anymore. Sicily cannot continue to pay for the indifference of Brussels and the silence of Rome,” he wrote.
– ‘Traumatic injuries’ –
The Italian coast guard on Saturday also transported 49 people who had been rescued in the Mediterranean by the MV Louise Michel, a vessel funded by the street artist Banksy.
The 150 other passengers on that ship were transferred late Saturday to the humanitarian rescue boat Sea-Watch 4, which now has some 350 people on board and is looking for a port of disembarkation.
The crew of the vessel chartered by German NGO Sea Watch and medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wrote on Twitter that it was treating people for “fuel burns, dehydration, hypothermia & traumatic injuries”.
The German-flagged Louise Michel had said it needed aid after helping a boat carrying at least one dead migrant in the sea that divides Africa and Europe.
Its crew said the 31-metre (101-foot) ship had become overcrowded and unable to move, warning that some of the migrants had fuel burns and had been at sea for days.
The rescued migrants later said three people had died at sea before the arrival of the Louise Michel.
Banksy, who keeps his identity a secret, explained in an online video that he had bought the boat to help migrants “because EU authorities deliberately ignore distress calls from non-Europeans”.
Thousands of people are thought to have died making the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean to flee conflict, repression and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.
According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, attempts by migrant boats to cross the Mediterranean into Europe have increased this year, up 91 percent from January to July over last year’s figures, to more than 14,000 people.
About 40 people are feared dead after a migrant vessel sank off the coast of Mauritania, the UN said Thursday, in a fresh tragedy along the Atlantic migration route to Europe.
In a tweet, the UN refugee agency’s special envoy for the central Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel, said one person from the West African state of Guinea had survived.
The boat sank off the northern city of Nouadhibou, Mauritania’s second largest, according to Cochetel.
“New shipwreck off the coast of Nouadhibou #Mauritania of approximately 40 persons on board, there is one survivor (from Guinea)” Cochetel said on Twitter, without specifying when the incident happened.
Other details about the event remained unclear and some accounts were conflicting.
A Mauritanian security official, who declined to be named, told AFP that the sinking did not take place in Mauritanian waters, but “far from our shores”.
The official interviewed the Guinean survivor from a hospital bed in Mauritania, however, who said that he and his friends had attempted to travel from Morocco to Spain’s Canary Islands.
The archipelago lies more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the coast of Africa at its closest point.
After the boat’s engines failed, the passengers aboard the vessel reportedly leapt into the open sea.
“They’re all dead, I think. I am the only survivor,” the security official reported the Guinean survivor as saying.
Cochetel tweeted that international organisations “are trying to step up efforts to prevent such tragedies, but traffickers keep lying to their clients.”
Charlie Yaxley, the UN refugee agency’s spokesman for Africa, said that very little information had been confirmed, but that UN officials are “on site providing assistance”.
– Perilous route –
Despite the lack of details, the incident bears strong similarities to a migrant disaster off Mauritania in December.
In that instance, 62 people drowned after their makeshift vessel — also travelling to the Canaries — hit a rock and capsized some 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of Nouadhibou.
Passengers jumped into the ocean as the craft began taking on water, and 83 people survived by swimming ashore.
Migrants have increasingly opted to risk the perilous route from West Africa to the Canaries in recent years, as authorities have clamped down on crossings from Libya to Europe.
The Atlantic route is especially dangerous as shoddy migrant vessels have to ply the ocean in order to reach the Spanish islands.
At least 170 people are known to have died trying to reach the Canary Islands in 2019, according to the IOM, against 43 the previous year.
The Italian coastguard said Monday it had recovered the bodies of 13 women, some of them pregnant, after a boat carrying around 50 migrants capsized off Lampedusa.
Around a dozen people, reportedly including eight children and other pregnant women, are still missing after the small, overloaded boat capsized off the coast of the southern Italian island, the coastguard said.
Three people have been killed in Venice after a powerboat attempting to break an offshore record slammed into an artificial spit of land in the dark, Italian firefighters and media reports said Wednesday.
Italian champion Fabio Buzzi and two British racers died in the crash late Tuesday while another Italian racer survived, the reports said citing Giampaolo Montavoci, president of the national offshore and endurance commission.
The accident happened as the vessel, some 20 metres (65 feet) long and able to travel up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) an hour, tried to break the Monte Carlo to Venice record.
Firefighters said they pulled three bodies from the submerged boat while the survivor had been thrown clear.
The vessel was nearly at the finishing line when it hit the Punta Sabbioni spit, built to protect the city’s “Mose” flood barrier, reports said.
Large boulders piled up on one another from the sea floor run the length of the spit.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is slowly sinking — something the “Mose” (Moses) system is designed to combat.
The crash was the latest in a string of accidents in the floating city, which sees everything from tiny gondolas to speedboats and vast cruise ships cross its waterways.
In June, the giant 13-deck MSC Opera rammed into a dockside in Venice and knocked into a small tourist boat, injuring four people and sending others on the pier running for safety.
A month later, the 12-deck Costa Deliziosa, nearly 300 metres long, narrowly missed a yacht while being towed out of Venice in stormy conditions.
But the hugely costly array of mobile barriers at the mouth of Venice’s lagoon has suffered years of delays, and is now only expected to be finished in 2021, local daily La Nuova di Venezia said.
Rescue workers have recovered a total of 33 bodies from a scuba-diving boat disaster off the coast of California, authorities said Wednesday, adding that one person remains missing.
Search operations for survivors were suspended Tuesday morning, and rescuers have begun an operation to free remains still trapped in the wreckage, which sank 66 feet (20 meters), and to determine the cause of the catastrophe.
The remains of 11 women and nine men were found after the 75-foot Conception caught fire and sank early Monday, trapping passengers below deck beneath the roaring blaze.
Divers have since recovered 13 other bodies, according to the Santa Barbara County sheriff’s department, which is in charge of the investigation.
All the remains have been transported to coroner offices for DNA identification. Authorities have not released details on any victims’ identities.
The boat had been on a diving excursion around Santa Cruz Island, just west of Santa Barbara in southern California.
A total of 39 people — six crew members and 33 passengers — were on board, officials said.
Five crew members were awake and jumped into the water when flames burst out around 3:15 am Monday. They were rescued by a nearby pleasure craft.
The remaining 34 people on board, who were sleeping below deck, appear to have been trapped by the flames.
The fire was so intense that firefighters were unable to board the boat, which sank as they tried to extinguish the blaze. The cause of the disaster is currently unknown.
The website for Truth Aquatics, which owned the Conception, said the ship was scheduled to return Monday from a three-day trip after visiting several diving spots around Santa Cruz Island.
Built in 1981 and with bunks for up to 46 people, the Conception was just 20 yards (meters) off the island’s northern shore when disaster struck.
The area is popular for a variety of water and outdoor sports.