Four Dead As Migrant Boat Capsizes In Spain

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: A patrol boat of the Italian Coast Guards (Guardia Costiera) transports migrants towards the port of Palermo, Sicily. PHOTO: Alessandro FUCARINI / AFP)

 

At least four people died when a boat carrying about 30 migrants sank off Spain’s Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, emergency services said.

Rescuers were searching for more possible victims following the accident off the fishing village of Orzola in the north of Lanzarote island late Tuesday.

“A small boat overturned at around 7:30 pm as it was approaching the coast,” a spokeswoman for the emergency services said.

She said five of those onboard reached land while 15 others were rescued.

“The bodies of two people were found, a search is continuing for others who were on the boat,” she said.

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The head of emergency and security services in Lanzarote, Enrique Espinosa, said two other bodies were recovered and there were currently 28 survivors. He said it was feared that three other people may have died.

More than 18,000 people have landed on the Spanish archipelago over the past year, some two-thirds of them in the past few months, after taking perilous boat trips from the African coast.

Spain’s socialist government announced last week it plans to set up camps for some 7,000 people and launch a diplomatic offensive in various African countries to try to curb the influx of migrants to the holiday islands.

The current wave has echoes of the crisis of 2006 when 30,000 migrants reached the Canaries, prompting Spain to step up patrols and ink repatriation agreements.

AFP

Migrants Boat Capsize: Captain Charged

The captain of the migrants boat that capsized has been arrested and chargedThe Tunisian captain of a boat that capsized off Libya on Sunday, killing hundreds of migrants, has been arrested and charged with reckless multiple homicide, Italian officials say.

According to BBC, the Captain has been charged alongside a member of the crew with favouring illegal immigration.

The charges came after the European Union (EU) set out a package of measures to ease the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

Search and rescue operations will be stepped up, and there will be a campaign to destroy traffickers’ boats.

A homicide investigation has been opened into the disaster, he added.

After speaking to the survivors, the United Nations (UN) refugee agency said about 800 people died in the disaster. Meanwhile, earlier accounts had put the death toll at about 700.

“There were a little over 800 people on board, including children aged between 10 and 12,” said Carlotta Sami, of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Italy.

“There were Syrians, about 150 Eritreans, Somalians… They had left Tripoli at about 8:00am on Saturday.”

It was earlier reported that the ship was in distress in the Mediterranean and sent out an SOS.