On Sunday, 1st of April, we witnessed another tragedy in the Strait of Gibraltar
From initially 12 people who had left together from Tangier on a rubber boat in order to reach Spain, only one survived, rescued by the Spanish search and rescued organisation Salvamento Marítimo.
We were alerted to the case by a friend of the travellers who was concerned about their well-being. When we tried to collect information about the boat, Salvamento Marítimo tweeted about the tragedy. They had rescued one survivor from the boat and had recovered two dead bodies from the sea. Nearby, they found another two bodies with a helicopter. Seven people remain missing.
The weather was rough, with wind speed up to 8 beaufort. The survivor reported that several of the others had started falling into the water already at the beginning of their journey. When a cargo vessel, the ‘Melchor Schulte’, spotted the boat around 4:20pm and alerted Salvamento Marítimo, there had only been three of them left on board. Until the naval asset ‘Concepción Arénal’ of Salvamento Marítimo could reach the location, the boat had flipped over due to the large waves.
We as the Alarm Phone want to express our sad solidarity with the victims’ relatives and friends. We also want to express our anger that people still have to risk their lives and that countless people still lose their lives at the European borders.
The tragedy of the 1st of April could have been avoided. But instead of creating safe pathways for people trying to reach EUrope, the EU continues to further reinforce its external borders to deter unauthorised migration, forcing many onto the lethal routes across the Mediterranean Sea.
Approximately 15 ferries sail safely from Tangier to Tarifa every day, for about 35 Euros, a fraction of what illegalised crossings cost. The twelve travellers were not allowed to board the ferries due to the border regime’s selective and racist denial of access and embarked on their precarious journey that ended eleven lives.
We want to express our sincere condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims of Sunday’s tragedy.
The WatchTheMed Alarm Phone