No trace of two boats, 70 migrants missing. Many are very young people who left Tunisia and Libya

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By John

A boat disappeared in front of Tunisia, another missing who knows where and set sail from Libya, around seventy men, women and children most likely sucked to the bottom of the Mediterranean together with the bodies of thousands of other desperate people who before them had tried to reach Europe.

The first, double, tragedy of 2024 on the path of death – according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 974 migrants died in the central Mediterranean while another 1,372 were declared missing in 2023, a record year for arrivals with an increase of 49% precisely on this route according to Frontex numbers – it would have taken place in the stretch of sea in front of Tunisia and Libya.

At the moment, there is no trace of bodies or survivors but it is, unfortunately, very probable that both boats sank. The first of the two small boats left on the night between 10 and 11 January from Sfax, Tunisia, carrying, according to the direction of the Tunis National Guard, 37 young people between 14 and 30 years old. However, there has been no trace of them for 6 days: the family members raised the alarm after losing all contact with those on the boat.

The searches of the Coast Guard of Sfax, the Tunisian authorities still say, in coordination with the Navy, are concentrated in the stretch of sea between the town of Sfax and Mahdia. However, it has been 4 days since there has been any news of another small boat, this time most likely departing from Libya, and sighted for the last time on 12 January by a Frontex plane in the Maltese SAR area.

“Where am I? – he wrote on The authorities have been alerted but do not provide information and so far we have no news of their arrival on the Italian island.”

Two days later the same NGO reiterated that it had no further news: «Frontex and the Italian Coast Guard searched for the vessel in vain. Worried relatives call us and urgently need answers.”

The searches are still ongoing, confirms the Coast Guard, carried out “continuously” with “the use of naval vessels from the Coast Guard, the Guardia di Finanza, but also Frontex aircraft and Maltese assets”.

And the satellite warning message continues to be transmitted to all ships transiting the area. Unfortunately, however, the Italian authorities admit, at the moment “the reported boat has not been identified, nor any other elements at sea attributable to the vessel or its occupants”.