Tag Archives: Kerkennah

Update Regarding Migrant Boat Sinking Off Tunisian Coast

Tunisian authorities continue to recover the bodies of victims from the migrant boat that capsized off the coast of the Kerkennah islands  last week.  TAP reported that 26 additional bodies were recovered on Sunday, 5 June.  Poor weather conditions on Sunday made recovery operations difficult.  According to TAP, 577 persons were rescued from the boat and 200 to 270 persons are believed to have drowned.  There are conflicting media reports regarding the numbers of confirmed deaths.  Some reports indicate that at least 150 bodies have been recovered in addition to the 26 bodies reportedly recovered on 5 June.

The boat, named The Wave, ran around last week, probably on Wednesday, 1 June.  The boat did not capsize until after rescue boats had arrived on the scene.   Tunisian coast guard and local fishing boats were involved in the rescue efforts.  The rescue boats did not have the capacity to rescue all of the migrants from the stranded migrant boat and some people jumped into the water and others moved to one side of the migrant boat causing it to capsize.  Media pictures show the vessel in an upright position with some rescue boats already on scene.  A France24 video report contains cell phone video shot immediately after the boat capsized.  (See pictures below.)

UNHCR and IOM staff have conducted interviews with some of the survivors.  According to UNHCR, the boat left Tripoli on 28 May with up to 850 people on board.  The passengers were primarily from West Africa, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The crew was recruited on an ad hoc basis and had little or no maritime experience. The France24 video report states that survivors said Libyan military assisted them in leaving Libya.  The boat became lost after leaving Tripoli and on Wednesday, 1 June, it ran around near the Kerkennah islands.  UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said that the boat “capsized as desperate passengers rushed to one side, seeking rescue by the Tunisian coast guard and fishing boats that had approached the vessel. Many fell into the water.”  IOM staff reported that at least one survivor said that during the boat’s voyage some people were thrown overboard alive.  The boat reportedly had run out of food and water.

Click here for a France24 video news report (EN) with cell phone video shot immediately after the migrant boat capsized.

Click here and here for UNHCR reports on the incident.

Click here for IOM Press Briefing Note.

Click here, here, here, and here for Tunisian articles. (FR)

Click here, here, and here for articles.  (EN)

Photo Agence Tunis Afrique Presse 04 juin 2011

La Garde maritime à Sfax au secours du chalutier libyen bloqué au large de Kerkennah (Photo AFP)

France24 03 June 2011 - Screen shot

France24 03 June 2011 - Screen Shot



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Filed under Data / Stats, European Union, Italy, Libya, Mediterranean, News, Tunisia, UNHCR

Migrant Boat(s) Sink Off Tunisian Coast / 250+ Feared Dead, 550+ Rescued

Tunisian authorities report that one or more migrant boats that had departed from Libya capsized and sank near the Tunisian coast on Tuesday near the Tunisian island of Kerkennah.  There are currently conflicting media reports on the number of boats involved.  The boat(s) are is thought to have been carrying approximately 800 people in total.  Over 500 people have reportedly been saved.  Approximately 270 are missing and assumed dead.

Click here, here, and here for articles.

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Filed under Italy, Libya, Mediterranean, News, Tunisia

62 Bodies Recovered on Tunisian Beaches in First Week of May

While irregular departures from Tunisia have been significantly reduced in number since Tunisian authorities resumed efforts to prevent or discourage such departures, bodies from earlier departures and accidents continue to wash ashore.  The Financial Times reports that “62 bodies [were] found [during the first week of May] near Sfax, Kerkennah and Chaffar, up the coastline from Zarzis, apparently from boats lost weeks earlier.”  58 bodies were discovered during the month of April.  FT also reported that “[u]nder the previous regime, would-be illegal migrants risked a fortnight in jail for ‘infringement of frontiers’; now there are no penalties imposed on those who attempted the illegal crossing.”

Click here for FT article (free access, but registration may be required).

Click here for previous post.

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Filed under European Union, Italy, Mediterranean, News, Tunisia

58 Bodies Discovered in April on Tunisian Beaches

The Tunisian Interior Ministry released a communiqué reporting that authorities during the month of April recovered a total of 58 bodies that had been washed ashore.   The bodies were mostly those of men and were found along beaches in Skhira, Chaffar, and Kerkennah, in the department of Sfax, and in Gabès, Djerba, and Mahdia.  The dead are believed to be persons who attempted to reach Italy by boat.

Click here and here for articles (FR)

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Filed under Italy, Mediterranean, News, Tunisia

Libyan Migrant Boats Carrying Over 400 People Missing; Reports of Deaths

There have been reports in recent days from the UNHCR and others about at least two boats that are believed to have left Libya over the past 10-14 days carrying persons from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and possible other countries.  Family members and friends of people who are believed to be on the boats have been calling for assistance in searching for the boats.  Reuters reported that “[o]ne of the boats was reported to have left Libya on March 22 with 335 people on board.  Italian media said 68 people on the other boat had almost certainly died during the journey, although there was no official confirmation. The top Vatican official in Tripoli, Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, said 10 bodies of African migrants were at the capital’s morgue on [4 April]. … He said there were reports of ‘many more bodies’ of migrants washed up on the shores of Garaboulli, some 40 km from Tripoli.”  Father Mussie Zerai, who is based in Rome, “said he had last spoken to migrants on board the smaller boat, an inflatable, by satellite phone on 26 March before the line went dead.  ‘I have meanwhile had no contact with the larger boat, but family members of those on board have called us from Canada, Sweden and Switzerland to tell us they left.’”

Click here and here for articles. (EN)

There have been confirmed deaths among migrants who have left Tunisia in recent weeks.  At least 27 bodies had been recovered as of last week in Kerkennah.  The dead were probably on board boats that sank on the 13th and 27th of March off the Tunisian coast.

Click here for article.

UPDATE:  If you have information about a family member or friend who may be on a boat or if you are seeking information, please consider contacting the Agenzia Habeshia per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo in Italy at this email address: agenzia_habeshia@yahoo.it .



Filed under European Union, Frontex, Italy, Libya, Mediterranean, News, Tunisia, UNHCR