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Mass displacement or migration Event icon
Event title

Mediterranean Sea - Eastern Basin - Alarm raised as at least 3 die, 430 facing shipwreck between Tunisia and Malta

Event category

Social incident - Mass displacement or migration

Severity

Mid

Event date (UTC)

2021-11-25 13:59:41

Last update (UTC)

2021-11-26 22:30:04

Latitude

34.884989

Longitude

11.799073

Area range

Local event

Address/Affected area(s)

Central Mediterranean Sea near Sharqi Island

A search-and-rescue NGO is urging the authorities to save 430 people shipwrecked in Malta's search and rescue area, off Tunisia, as at least three people have already died. Alarm Phone accused governments of "collective non-assistance at sea" and warned that the situation was becoming "increasingly dramatic". They said the people on board the overcrowded boat said it was sinking and that while the Tunisian coastguard arrived on Wednesday, it had not intervened. "The people on the overcrowded boat said it is sinking. We alerted authorities but Italy said they are not responsible for the area. Such a big boat cannot be handled by the so-called Libyan coastguard without loss of life," it urged on social media. In the early hours on Thursday, the NGO said it was in regular contact with the 430 people in distress who had moved forward to Malta's SAR zone. "There’s panic on board. They say people are dying and are urgently asking for help. Authorities are not responding and there is no rescue in sight." "Do not let them drown," the organisation urged. Soon after 7am, the organisation raised the alarm again, saying the boat was slowly breaking apart and three people had died. "Europe's authorities are 'monitoring but don't rescue. A shipwreck is unfolding in front of your eyes," it said. At 10am, Alarm Phone said the situation on board is becoming increasingly dramatic and more people had reportedly died. "The people on board say that the Tunisian coastguard arrived but doesn't intervene. What we see is collective non-assistance at sea! We demand their immediate rescue!" Asked for an update, a spokesperson told Times of Malta that the 430 people are in Malta's SAR but within Tunisian territorial waters. The Armed Forces of Malta asked Times of Malta to send an email about the matter. On Wednesday, a woman died after a group of migrants were rescued at sea by the AFM. The group of 43 people, many of whom looked emaciated and unwell, arrived at Senglea on board an AFM patrol boat in the morning. Twelve women and two children were among the group, the home affairs ministry said. In September the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency flagged Malta's "intensified efforts" to stop asylum seekers from disembarking on the island during the pandemic.

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