Egyptian authorities arrest four people in connection with the death of at least 42 migrants whose Europe-bound boat capsized off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast yesterday.
Some 1.3 million migrants reached Europe past year fleeing war and economic hardship, prompting bitter disputes among European countries over how to share responsibility. Four members of the boat crew were detained for four days, pending investigations.
A military boat brought bodies to shore on Thursday, laying them out in body bags.
The boat was on its way to Italy, the news agency MENA reported, attributing the information to the military. It appears the ship capsized “because it was carrying more people than its limits” and Egyptian official told Reuters.
He said the dead were mostly Egyptian, Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali nationals.
There were no details about the destination of the boat, although officials said the boat was probably heading for Italy.
“Families know that they will not be sent back”, leading boys as young as 12 to make the trip, Di Giacomo said. The agreement has been fraught with delays, however, and most of the people in island camps have applied for asylum in Greece, launching a lengthy process during which they can not be deported.
According to the statement, 163 passengers have been rescued so far in the rescue mission.
“The refugee-immigration portfolio between the European Union and Turkey indicates how illegal immigration and human trafficking received a heavy blow in Turkey”.
An estimated 2,901 people have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean; this represents a 37 percent increase over the same period last year.
A man reacts as rescue workers carry the body of a victim on a stretcher after aboat carrying migrants capsized off Egypt’s coast, in Al-Beheira, Egypt, September 22, 2016.
Last week, the country’s navy thwarted two attempts by people trying to cross from Egypt to Europe.
Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said in June that the unsafe crossing from Egypt to Italy, which often takes more than 10 days, was becoming increasingly popular.
In April, 400 refugees traveling from Egypt to Italy drowned in the Mediterranean, with the majority of the migrants originating from North Somalia.
Wednesday’s tragedy came two days after Egyptian President and ex-army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told a United Nations meeting that illegal immigration should be at the top of worldwide priorities, Al-Ahram reported.