Immigrant boat sinks near Tunisia

The vessel was set to sail overnight from Sousse province in Tunisia to Italy.

But half an hour after leaving port the boat split in two under the weight of 75 Moroccan and Tunisian passengers.

Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali expressed deep concern at the attempt of clandestine emigration and has initiated special talks with defence and interior ministers.

Mr Ben Ali reiterated the need to redouble efforts to combat the illegal crossing of borders stricter checks of persons arriving in Tunisia.

Every year, thousands of people risk their lives by trying to get into southern Europe illegally with almost 950 people drowned making the crossing since mid-2001.

Many of them set off from Libya or Tunisia heading towards the Italian island of Lampedusa, 100 kilometers off the Tunisian coast.

New Tunisian legislation has brought existing statutes into line with international conventions on clandestine immigration and allowed closer control of Tunisia’s territorial waters.

It has also set up a system of checks for maritime vessels which could be used to carry would-be immigrants to Europe.

The Tunis Hebdo newspaper said the people involved in the latest tragedy were part of a group of 280 who had gathered with the intention of trying to reach Europe.

Only eleven people survived the disaster.

International aid agencies are split over how to deal with the growing wave of migration across the Mediterranean Sea.

Jean-Philippe Chauzy, spokesperson for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) favoured the idea of migration processing centres outside the EU.

But Ruud Lubbers High Commissioner for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told EU ministers that transit centres wouldn’t really address the complex problem.

Posted in 上海性息网