At Least 26 Killed in Migrant Shipwreck off Senegalese Coast

What Happened

Senegal’s Saint Louis state Governor Alioune Badara Samb has said that at least 26 people have been killed after a migrant shipwreck took place off the Senegalese coast. Those confirmed to have been killed are just the bodies which Senegalese authorities have located. In their search efforts, they have additionally rescued 21 people.

Those found dead and those rescued are just a few of many, however. There are no official counts for how many people were on the ship when it capsized, but witness estimates range as high as 2-300 people. Some survivors managed to reach shore, and have since dispersed amongst local populations, but there is likely to still be a significant amount of people missing.

The ship capsized around the Saint Louis estuary. The Saint Louis estuary is where the Senegal River reaches the Atlantic Ocean, and it is known for particularly strong currents and also high levels of mud.

Senegalese President Macky Sall offered his condolences for those killed, and stated relevant authorities were being deployed.

The ship had left Senegal a week ago, and reached Morocco as a part of it’s attempted journey to Europe. However, upon reaching Morocco, the captain had stated he was lost and could not continue the journey. As such, the majority of passengers requested to be returned to Senegal. The return journey is when the shipwreck took place.

Senegal is one of the primary launching points for ships carrying migrants in West Africa in their bids to reach Europe.

The journey across the treacherous Atlantic Ocean proves extremely dangerous each year, with thousands of migrants dying each year during the journeys. Through Senegal and Morocco, Spain (in particular the canary islands) is a primary destination.

Europe has lately been exploring different ways to deter migrant crossings, holding a number of meetings with various African nations that are common launching points, including Tunisia, aimed at finding solutions to the crisis.

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Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.