Photo provided on May 25, 2016 by the Italian Navy showing a migrant boat about to be wrecked off the Libyan coast -


New bodies of migrants were recovered in the Mediterranean on Monday after the sinking on Sunday of a boat off the coast of Tunisia, bringing the death toll to thirteen dead and nine missing, the Sfax court said.

This Sunday, seven people, five men and two women, had been rescued off Sfax, in central-eastern Tunisia.

According to the spokesperson for the Sfax court, Mourad Turki, eleven bodies were found at midday on Monday, and two others were found in the afternoon.

The boat was carrying 29 people, including two Tunisians and people from various countries in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the comments of survivors reported by Mourad Turki.

Among the bodies found, seven women aged 20 to 30 and three children, including one under six months old.

The body of one of the two Tunisians, originally from Sfax, was also recovered.

Many illegal crossings

After a peak in departures from Tunisia in 2011, followed by a sharp drop, attempts at illegal emigration have increased again since 2017. The country is shaken by political instability and hard hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in soaring unemployment.

The Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that it had prevented 32 illegal crossings from Saturday to Sunday and arrested 262 people aged 15 to 44, including two nationals of sub-Saharan African countries.

At the risk of their lives, thousands of migrants regularly attempt to cross the Mediterranean in clandestine boats, trying to reach Europe where they hope to find work and prospects.

Since the start of 2020 and until mid-September, 8,581 people have been intercepted while trying to reach Europe by sea from the Tunisian coast, according to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior.

Of these, 2,104 were foreigners.

During an August visit to Tunis, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio warned that there would be no more room for migrants who arrived illegally in Italy, after announcing repatriation operations for Tunisians in from August 10.


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