The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported on Wednesday that over 60 people are feared dead after a migrant boat from Senegal was discovered off the coast of Cape Verde in the Atlantic Ocean. The number of fatalities is believed to be 63, while 38 people, including four children aged 12 to 16, have been saved from the fishing boat that departed from Senegal in July. 37 of those rescued were Senegalese while one was from Guinea-Bissau. IOM spokesperson Safa Msehli told AFP that emergency services have recovered the remains of seven people, while another 56 people are reportedly missing.
The long wooden fishing vessel was spotted in the Atlantic Ocean about 150 nautical miles from the Cape Verdean island of Sal on Monday, by a Spanish fishing boat, which then alerted Cape Verdean authorities. As per statements from survivors, Senegal's foreign ministry reported that the ship set sail from Senegal's fishing village of Fasse Boye on July 10 with 101 people on board. Initial reports indicated that the ship had sunk, but authorities later clarified that it had been discovered adrift by the Spanish fishing vessel Zillarri.
Situated approximately 600 kilometres (around 350 miles) from the coastline, the Cape Verde islands are positioned along the maritime migration route leading to the Spanish Canary Islands, which serve as an entry point to the European Union. Summer is the busiest period for maritime migration routes. Among the unfortunate events this year was a shipwreck on August 9 near Tunisia's coastline, which resulted in 41 people being presumed dead after a large wave caused their boat to overturn. Similarly, on June 14th, a tragic incident unfolded off Greece's shore that involved a fishing boat from Libya that capsized. It led to approximately 600 migrants missing at sea.
Commonly used by African migrants attempting to reach Spain, the Atlantic migration route is one of the world's most dangerous routes. Despite that, thousands risk their lives every year, attempting to flee the rising instances of unemployment, violence, and political unrest in West Africa.
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