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Turkey: 21 dead in shipwreck of migrant ship

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – ARIS MESSINIS – | Twenty-one people died and at least seven others were wanted after the shipwreck of a ship carrying migrants to the Black Sea

Twenty-one people died and at least seven others were wanted by the authorities on Friday after the shipwreck of a ship carrying migrants in the Black Sea off the Turkish coast, the Turkish coast guard announced.

Forty migrants had been rescued at midday, but research continued for seven to nine others, according to a coast guard statement.

A pregnant woman, transferred to the hospital, lost her child despite the intervention of relief, said the pro-government news agency Anadolu.

The sinking took place 64 miles from Kefken, in north-western Turkey, the coast guard said in a statement.

Most of the 70 or so passengers on the boat were Iraqi citizens, said Mehmet Ünal, governor of Kandira, where the wounded were taken care of by the private news agency Dogan.

Ⓒ AFP – Lucie AUBOURG – | Sinking in Turkey

The boat had left the coast at Zonguldak (east of Kefken) and was heading for Romania, Dogan adds.

Last week, 150 migrants had been rescued by the Romanian authorities, who are faced with an acceleration of crossings through the Black Sea from Turkey, which welcomes more than three million refugees, mainly Syrians and Iraqis.

Romania, which has so far been spared by migratory flows, fears that the Black Sea will become an alternative route to the passage through the Mediterranean for illegal immigrants seeking to reach Europe.

Some 570 migrants have been intercepted by the Romanian authorities on this seaway in the last month, even though they have only been a handful since 2015.

This route makes it possible to avoid Greece, where newcomers risk expulsion to Turkey under a controversial agreement concluded in March 2016 between the EU and Ankara.

According to figures released by Anadolu, 834 migrants and 10 smugglers were arrested in the Black Sea during seven incidents between 13 August and 9 September.

In two other incidents where the date was not specified, 237 migrants and five organizers were also arrested, the agency added.

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