More than thirty people are believed to be missing after two ships carrying migrants sank off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. The two boats purportedly departed the Tunisian port city of Sfax carrying a total of 48 and 42 individuals, respectively.
Italian coastguards reported recovering the corpses of a woman from Ivory Coast and her one-year-old child. Tunisian officials reported finding ten migrants' corpses on a beach near Sfax..
According to unisian authorities, the port city is a popular entry point for migrants in search of a better living. Officials in Sfax, which is only about 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the Italian island of Lampedusa, stated that they were working to determine the nationalities of the migrants, the majority of whom originated from sub-Saharan African nations.
Saturday, approximately 46 kilometers (23 nautical miles) south-west of Lampedusa, two vessels carrying 57 migrants sank approximately 23 nautical miles south-west of Lampedusa.
Earlier, the International Organization for Migration, the migration agency of the United Nations, reported that more than thirty individuals had been reported missing. In June, a Greek boat capsized, leaving at least 78 people deceased and hundreds missing.
Sunday, firefighters and mountain rescue teams prepared to rescue twenty migrants stranded on a craggy stretch of Lampedusa's coast. The migrants have been there since late Friday, when the boats were forced against the rocks by strong winds.
After more than two days of rough seas, Open Arms began disembarking 195 rescued migrants in the port of Brindisi, located in southern Italy.
Police chief Emanuele Ricifari, who is in command of the investigation, told local media that the traffickers would have been aware of the impending rough seas.
Mr. Ricifari stated, "Whoever permitted or compelled them to leave with this sea is an unscrupulous criminal lunatic."
Italian patrol vessels and charitable organizations have rescued an additional 2,000 people who have arrived on the island in recent days.
Some of the migrants have received food, water, clothing, and emergency thermal coverings from the Red Cross. However, according to the coastguard, bad weather and substandard vessels continue to impede rescue operations.
In some instances, traffickers steal the engines from vessels at sea so they can reuse them. Mr. Ricifari urged the traffickers to cease their activities by stating, "Rough seas are predicted for the next few days. Let us pray they cease. This sea is sending them to their deaths."
According to non-governmental organisations, Italy's far-right government has made their work more difficult by enacting laws that force rescue ships to dock in distant ports.
Charities have warned that this increases their navigation costs and decreases the amount of time ships can spend patrolling areas of the Mediterranean where such natural disasters are prevalent.
Attempts to cross from Sfax to Lampedusa have increased since March of this year, after Tunisian President Kais Saied accused sub-Saharan migrants of attempting to alter the character of Tunisian society.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the actual numbers are likely to be significantly higher. Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, stated, "Many bodies are being discovered at sea, suggesting that there are numerous shipwrecks of which we never hear."