In Mauritania, 47 migrants remain missing

Forty-seven African migrants are missing and likely died at sea while trying to reach Europe aboard a ship, finally recovered on Monday off Mauritania with seven survivors, an official with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

The ship had sailed “in all likelihood” from the Laâyoune region (Western Sahara) on August 3 to the Canary Islands (Spain), but suffered engine damage and drift for almost two weeks before being detected. Nouadhibou, said IOM official Nicolas Hochart.

Fifty-four people, including two children under the age of three and a teenager, now all three missing, were on board at first, he said, citing testimonies collected by IOM from survivors. They were West Africans, he added without elaborating. “The trip, if all goes well, will take a maximum of a few days (…). From the moment the engine failed, they found themselves without a reserve ”of water and food, he stressed.

This route that passes through the Atlantic and the west coast of Africa to the Canary Islands, the gateway to Europe, is one of the privileged routes that thousands of African migrants travel on board modest boats every year. It is a very dangerous journey. Around 300 people at least have died or disappeared since early 2021 on the “Atlantic route,” Nicolas Hochart said.

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