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Cape Verde: Over 60 migrants feared dead in boat capsize

August 17, 2023

The wooden boat left Senegal more than 40 days ago with more than 100 people on board. It was traveling in the direction of Spain's Canary Islands when it capsized in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Verde.

Fishermen on a traditional boat known as pirogue leap over a wave heading out to the Atlantic Ocean
The migrants were on a boat similar to, but slightly larger than, the vessel pictured aboveImage: Leo Correa/AP Photo/picture alliance

More than 60 migrants are feared dead after the boat they were traveling in from Senegal was found adrift off Cape Verde.

Seven bodies were found on the boat, while an estimated 56 people are missing at sea and presumed dead, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Thursday.

Dozens feared dead in boat found drifting off Cape Verde


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"Generally, when people are reported missing following a shipwreck, they are presumed dead," IOM spokeswoman Safa Msehli said.

According to Cape Verde police, 38 survivors, including four children, were rescued when a Spanish fishing vessel found the boat adrift earlier this week.

People were at sea for over a month

The large fishing boat, called a pirogue, left the Senegalese fishing village of Fass Boye on July 10 with 101 passengers on board, Spanish migration advocacy group Walking Borders said.

Families of the people on board reached out to Walking Borders late last month after not hearing from loved ones on the boat.

The vessel was only located on Monday morning in the Atlantic Ocean, about 150 nautical miles (277 kilometers) from the Cape Verdean island of Sal.

Dangerous route to Europe

The boat was found on the Atlantic migration route from the coast of West Africa to Spain's Canary Islands. It is one of the world's deadliest.

The main routes migrants take to reach Europe


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Nearly 1,000 migrants died trying to reach Spain by sea in the first six months of 2023, Walking Borders says.

According to the Spanish Interior Ministry, around 10,000 people have made the perilous journey from the northwest coast of Africa to the Canary Islands by sea this year.

lo/nm (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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