At least 34 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have died in a shipwreck off the Moroccan coast while attempting to reach Spain early this week, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
“The boat was adrift since Sunday with 60 people aboard. At least 34 have drowned — it looks like there were 26 survivors,” Joel Millman, spokesman of the IOM, told Reuters.
Eleven bodies have been recovered and the boat's teenage captain has been detained, according to the Moroccan Interior Ministry Tuesday.
The Ministry´s body count is lower than that of the U.N. agency, citing 31 people rescued. Moroccan-based Spanish activist, Helen Manelo, of Walking Borders (Caminando Fronteras) said that a baby was among the deceased. “They had been left to die slowly,” she said in a tweet.
At least 1,600 people have died or gone missing in attempts to reach Europe by sea, the U.N. Refugee Agency reported last month. The number of deaths has risen as the number of people reaching Europe has fallen.
“This report once again confirms the Mediterranean as one of the world’s deadliest sea crossings,” said Pascale Moreau, UNHCR’s Director of the Bureau for Europe. “With the number of people arriving on European shores falling, this is no longer a test of whether Europe can manage the numbers, but whether Europe can muster the humanity to save lives.”