Warship ignored drowning migrants - UN

2011-04-15 15:01

Geneva - Sixteen people drowned and another five are feared dead while crossing the Gulf of Aden this week, including an incident in which a naval boat ignored the migrants' cries for help, the UN refugee agency said on Friday.

A first boat carrying mostly Somali refugees ran into strong winds and rough waters quickly after it set sail from Puntland on April 11. It approached the Yemeni coast the next day, but fearing interception by coastguards, smugglers kept the boat out at sea.

"The passengers, who by then were dehydrated and hungry, began crying and shouting," said Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Somali migrants tried to catch the attention of a cargo vessel and a foreign naval ship. However, "the naval ship approached their boat but ignored their cries for help", said Mahecic.

"This is most disturbing," he said.

"UNHCR appeals to all shipmasters in the Gulf of Aden to uphold the longstanding tradition of rescue at sea and helping vessels in distress," said the spokesperson, pointing out that the boat eventually sank, leaving 15 dead and five missing.

In a separate incident, another boat carrying mostly Ethiopians which set sail on April 11 arrived close to Yemen's coast on April 13. However, smugglers forced the passengers into the sea even though the boat was still in deep waters.

An Ethiopian man drowned in that incident.

Some 89 people have drowned in January and February this year while making the perilous voyage across the Gulf of Aden, compared to 15 for the whole of 2010, the UNHCR said.

  • Christo - 2011-04-15 15:37

    It seriously is worrying to see how little humans care for other humans... Very sad to see the state of the world we live in.

      SaligSondaar - 2011-04-15 16:05

      It is not exactly a new thing, is it Christo?

      Krush - 2011-04-15 16:19

      With all the pirates out there these days maybe they were just scared..

  • ? - 2011-04-15 15:46

    Yeah its good they ignored their cries for help - waste of time they are

  • rantoftheday - 2011-04-15 15:47

    Given that piracy is a major problem do you blame the captain of the cargo ship for moving on?

      quietmouse - 2011-04-15 16:08

      Agree whole heartedly. With piracy ever increasing who is to say they were not trying to play on sympathies and hijack the boat.

      wendall_carlighnsher - 2011-04-15 18:24

      get educated before you post .... pirates show up with a well maintained boat with guns and fully armed ...... pirates don't show up in a rickety boat looking starved to death, afraid, with no weapons ....... if you were to see a pirate, TRUST ME, you would know it .... because you would piss your pants loser ....

      piet.strydom - 2011-04-15 20:33

      Cargo ship I can understand, but the Naval warship!!

  • Slapper - 2011-04-15 15:51

    Would you pick them up, knowing that if you do, your country is stuck with them for life? No, these people need to sort out their problems at home, not pass them on to others.

      jeebhai - 2011-04-15 16:14

      Its obvious that people like you evolved later than others

  • SirVic - 2011-04-15 15:56

    maybe they thought they were PIRATES...

  • Blip - 2011-04-15 16:05

    Somalians ought to stay in Somalia. That's their place.

      jeebhai - 2011-04-15 16:16

      And your forefathers should have stayed in Iceland, coz theres no place for cold hearted ppl here in SA

      wendall_carlighnsher - 2011-04-15 18:26

      Agree 100% And you, your parents and grandparents, need to GO BACK TO YOUR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN ..... NOW ......

  • n230099 - 2011-04-15 17:07

    Anyone else wonder whose "warship" this was? I find it interesting that the author was afraid to name the Nationality of the ship.

      Counter-spin - 2011-04-15 17:44

      Nowhere in the article does it say the author was afraid to name the nationality of the ship.

  • pages:
  • 1