Fingers point at smugglers… Dozens are missing in the capsizing of two migrant boats off Italy’s coast

Dozens of migrants fell victims to greed and the desire to make profits, as smugglers pushed them to sail in the Mediterranean, despite the bad weather, on rickety boats.

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 30 people are missing after two boats carrying migrants sank off the coast of Italy, according to survivors’ testimonies, on August 6.

The organization stated that survivors have reported losing 28 people who were on one boat, while three others were reported missing from another, after they sank off the coast of Lampedusa Island in light of the stormy weather on Saturday.

It is believed that the two boats were two rickety iron boats that sailed from Sfax, Tunisia, on Thursday.

An investigation has been opened into the sinking of the two boats in the city of Agrigento on the island of Sicily.

Italian news agency ANSA reported that the coast guard forces found the body of a person on Saturday after a migrant boat sank off the island of Lampedusa.

Agrigento’s chief of police, Emanuele Ricifari, said the smugglers were aware of the expected bad weather. “Whoever allowed or forced them to leave with this sea is an unscrupulous criminal,” he told Italian media.

“High waves are expected in the next few days as well. Let’s hope the smugglers stop, they are sending migrants to perish at sea,” he said.

As the stormy weather continued on Sunday, rescue teams ferried migrants stranded on a rocky section of the Lampedusa coast.

The migration route through the central Mediterranean, starting from the Libyan and Tunisian coasts, is considered the deadliest migration route in the world.

It is noteworthy that more than 1,800 people have died attempting to cross this route since the beginning of this year, which represents an increase of about 900 people compared to last year.

Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are taken to the sea by smugglers and put “in iron boats that cost less than the usual wooden boats, but they are completely unseaworthy and easily disintegrate and sink.”

Boat engines are often stolen from migrant boats at sea, so smugglers can reuse them.

According to data from the Italian Ministry of the Interior, some 92,000 migrants have reached Italian shores so far this year, more than double the number registered during the same period last year.

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