Tunisia coastguard rescues 48 migrants from sinking boat

2018-02-18 12:31
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Tunis - Tunisia's coastguard has rescued 48 Tunisian migrants whose boat began sinking as they tried to reach Italy by sea, the interior ministry said Saturday.

A patrol spotted the vessel on Friday night off Jebeniana, 210 kilometres (130 miles) south of Tunis.

The 9 metre  craft "was sinking after taking on water", the ministry said in a statement.

The passengers were all Tunisians aged 16 to 40, from the governorates of Medenine and Sfax, it added.

Tunisians regularly try to cross the Mediterranean to seek a better future in Europe, but departures peaked last September.

According to NGOs, the uptick reflected frustration among young people hard hit by unemployment.

In October, a collision between a migrant boat and a Tunisian military ship left at least 44 dead, in what Prime Minister Youssef Chahed called a "national disaster".

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Read more on:    tunisia  |  north africa

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