Authorities report 23 missing off Tunisia coast

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By Creative Media News

  • 23 individuals missing off Tunisia’s coast, search ongoing
  • Tunisian National Guard reports unauthorized sailing incidents
  • Tunisia, Libya are key departure points for Europe-bound migrants

Local authorities have reported that a minimum of 23 individuals are missing off the coast of Tunisia; rescue and search operations are currently underway.

The National Guard of Tunisia issued the following statement on Saturday: “Unauthorized sailing operations” were reported to it from multiple locations along the Tunisian coast. Five suspects involved in the planning of the crossing have been apprehended.

According to the National Guard, the families of the missing individuals have lost contact with them and notified the authorities. The statement failed to specify the nationality of the individuals who have gone missing.

According to the state-run news agency TAP, a vessel departed from the northeastern governorate of Nabeul municipality of Korba.

Both neighboring Libya and Tunisia serve as crucial departure locations for those wishing to travel irregularly to Europe by boat.

Migrants aiming to reach Europe frequently converge on Tunisia’s coastlines. They originate from various parts of the world, but especially from conflict-ridden and impoverished regions of sub-Saharan Africa. In Tunisia, the UN Refugee Agency reports that over 12,000 individuals are officially registered as refugees or asylum applicants.

Additionally, Tunisian citizens have attempted maritime migration to Europe to evade poverty and find employment. Tunisia had an unemployment rate exceeding 16 percent as of 2023, as reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Numerous irregular Tunisian arrivals in Italy in 2023 originated from working-class regions frequented by refugees, such as the industrial areas surrounding Sfax, situated along the coast 278 kilometers (172 miles) south of Tunis.

In February, seventeen Tunisians aboard a fishing vessel that had set sail for Italy went AWOL.

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The Central Mediterranean Sea is among the most difficult migration routes globally. The International Organisation For Migration (IOM) estimates that approximately 3,000 asylum seekers and migrants have perished while traversing it since 2023.

The actual amount is probably greater.

During the initial eleven months of 2023, the National Guard of Tunisia apprehended nearly seventy thousand asylum claimants and irregular migrants. As of that moment, 77.5% of the population had arrived in Tunisia via Africa.

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