By Vatican News staff writer
Dozens of migrants are missing and feared to be dead after their boat encountered engine trouble on the passage from Western Sahara, Morocco to Spain’s Canary Islands, the International Organization for Migration said Tuesday.
The boat carrying 54 West Africa migrants at the start of the trip departed Laayoune, in Western Sahara, on August 3 before the engine failed, causing it to drift for two weeks.
Without adequate supplies and not knowing where they were going, the vessel remained stranded until it was found by the Mauritanian coastguard on Monday off the coast of Nouadhibou.
Up to 47 people including three minors are suspected to have died according to the testimony of the seven survivors who were rescued by the Mauritanian coastguard. The remaining survivors have been taken into care for treatment.
Spanish authorities say that this year alone, between January and July, about 7,531 people reached Spain’s Canary Islands from West Africa, a figure representing a 136 percent rise compared with the same period in 2020.