32 Bangladeshis among 81 migrants rescued off Tunisia coast
The Tunisian navy said on Saturday (May 14, 2022) it rescued 81 migrants, including 32 Bangladeshis, who had set out for Europe from Libya on a barely seaworthy vessel, Arab News reports.
The boat, which had been damaged, was boarded around six kms off Tunisia's northeastern coast, the report quoted the navy officials.
It carried 38 Egyptians, 32 Bangladeshis, 10 Sudanese and a Moroccan, all aged between 20 and 38, who had set off from the coastal village of Abu Kammash, close to Libya's border with Tunisia, according to what the migrants told officers.
One of the migrants is a woman. They were handed over to the national guard for processing.
Tunisia and neighbouring Libya are key departure points for migrants seeking to reach European shores, often in poorly-maintained vessels, the Arab News said.
The Italian island of Lampedusa is only about 130 km from the Tunisian coast.
Last month, Libyan authorities arrested 542 would-be migrants preparing to depart for Europe in inflatable boats, a security source said.
An AFP photographer said most of the migrants were originally from Bangladesh, the report said.
The International Organization for Migration has said that nearly 2,000 migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean sea in 2021, compared to 1,401 the previous year.
It is the world's deadliest migration route, but people hoping to build a better life in Europe increasingly risk it.