Share article:
Share article:

Two dead and 23 migrants missing off coast Tunisia

© Belga

At least 23 migrants are missing and two have died off the coast of Tunisia, the Red Crescent, a Tunisian humanitarian association, said on Wednesday.

The news comes the day after a rescue operation by the Tunisian army.

The Red Crescent said a boat carrying about 100 migrants left the Libyan port of Zouara on Sunday night and was rescued by the army not far from the Miskar oil platform, 67 kilometres off the Tunisian coast.

The survivors, 37 Eritreans, 32 Sudanese and one Egyptian – all between the ages of 15 and 40 – were picked up by the Red Crescent and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at the port of Zarzis, in southern Tunisia.

The survivors reported that there were other passengers on board, two of whom were found drowned and 23 of whom remain missing, according to the Red Crescent.

The United Nations recently said that the European Union, through its migrant policy, is in part to blame for the deaths of migrants travelling across the central Mediterranean route.

The central Mediterranean is one of the deadliest migration routes according to the UN, counting more than 760 deaths in the Mediterranean between 1 January and 31 May 2021, and 1,400 for the year 2020.

The Belgian coast experiences regular interceptions of trans-migrants – in other words, migrants whose aim is not to remain here, but to move on, usually to the UK.

Just last month, more than 80 transmigrants were detained in Oostduinkerke while waiting to embark on a dangerous crossing to the UK, hardly a week after 49 refugees needed to be rescued after attempting much the same.

Related News


The Tunisian army said it also brought 39 migrants from various sub-Saharan African countries to shore. That boat, which was 50 kilometres off the Tunisian coast, had left Sfax in central-eastern Tunisia also on Sunday night.

Tunisia rescues migrant boats every week, with departures rising sharply over the past two years. The reception facilities in the south of the country are beginning to saturate, especially as groups of migrants have to be quarantined on arrival because of the pandemic.

Attempts to emigrate from neighbouring Libya have also increased, with 11,000 departures from January to April 2021, 73% more than in the same period last year, due in particular to the deterioration of the situation for foreigners in the country, according to the High Commission for Refugees (HCR).

On 18 May, more than 50 people were reported missing and about 30 rescued off the coast of Tunisia after their boat sank from Libya.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Non-urgent care once again postponed in some hospitals
As the worsening coronavirus situation in Belgium is starting to take its toll on hospitals, it has been confirmed non-urgent care will once again be ...
Brussels Airport warns autumn holidaymakers to arrive early
Passengers leaving from Brussels Airport this autumn have been advised to factor in extra time to account for longer than normal check-in times and ...
27,000 Belgian taxpayers to pay more after incorrect tax break
About 27,000 taxpayers who wrongly received a tax reduction in the last three years due to an error by the tax administration will have to pay what ...
Wallonia launches first major survey for cyclist satisfaction
Following in the footsteps of France and Flanders, the Wallonia Region of Belgium is launching its first major satisfaction survey on municipal ...
After 5 rescues in 2 days, hundreds of migrants take shelter in Italy
After five rescues in less than two days, almost 400 migrants aboard the Geo Barents search and rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean, operated by ...
Belgian wind farm closed down to save migrants floating in sea
A wind farm near Zeebrugge had to be shut down on Wednesday morning as more than 25 migrants had been adrift in its vicinity off the Belgian coast ...
Cinemas will require Covid Safe Ticket from Friday
The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will be required to attend cinemas across Belgium from Friday, which marks the start of the autumn holidays, the ...
Strong warnings issued ahead of climate change summit
New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a ...
Disastrous year for Belgian beekeepers
Belgian beekeepers have experienced a disastrous year, with honey production 50 to 60 percent lower than last year due to heavy rainfall during ...
New measures for schools considered as situation becomes ‘untenable’
Belgium's various education partners met on Wednesday to discuss additional measures to implement in schools as the coronavirus situation worsens in ...
Belgium in Brief: Back To Masks
I really hope you didn't throw out all your masks. You'll be needing them again. Now I do appreciate that this isn't a huge change for ...
Belgium a climate slowcoach as EU reveals emissions progress
The European Union is on track to pass its first big climate test, according to new figures published this week. But Belgium has been singled out for ...