Reports indicate that a distressing incident has occurred as a boat capsized off the coast of Tunisia, with Italian state RAI television revealing that four fortunate survivors have been rescued and transported to safety in Italy on Wednesday.
As per both RAI and the ANSA news agency, the quartet was initially saved by the Maltese-flagged bulk carrier Rimona in the waters of the Straits of Sicily. Following their rescue, they were subsequently handed over to the Italian coastguard, who facilitated their transfer to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa.
The ill-fated journey commenced on a Thursday morning from Sfax, a significant focal point in the migration crisis within Tunisia. Unfortunately, the vessel encountered adversity and ultimately sank just a few hours after departing, with the survivors recounting these harrowing details.
Lampedusa, situated closer to Africa than mainland Italy, has become an all-too-common destination for human traffickers. This summer, the island’s migrant reception center has frequently been overwhelmed by the influx of new arrivals.
A representative of the Italian Red Cross, Alessandra Filograno, confirmed the arrival of the four survivors at the Lampedusa center on Wednesday morning. The group consists of two men, a woman, and an unaccompanied minor. However, no further details were provided at this time.
While both ANSA and RAI have not disclosed the sources of their information, they have reported that the four survivors, originating from Ivory Coast and Guinea, have disclosed a tragic toll of 41 lives lost, including three children.
This summer has witnessed a series of unfortunate shipwrecks involving smuggler vessels departing from Tunisia en route to Italy.
The Italian interior ministry has revealed that over 93,000 undocumented individuals have arrived in Italy via the Mediterranean Sea this year alone. This staggering figure is more than double the 45,000 arrivals recorded during the same timeframe in the previous year (2022).
Among those arriving, the predominant nationalities include individuals from Guinea, Ivory Coast, Egypt, and Tunisia.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, a key figure in the right-wing government that includes the anti-migration League party, has actively rallied the European Union towards collaborative efforts aimed at encouraging Tunisia to take decisive action against smuggling operations. Nevertheless, the departures of these perilous boats persist despite these initiatives.