Sub-Saharan migrants arrive at Arguineguin's port after being rescued by Spanish Salvamento Maritimo in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/Angel Medina G.
Sub-Saharan migrants arrive at Arguineguin's port after being rescued by Spanish Salvamento Maritimo in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/Angel Medina G.

The authorities of Trinidad and Tobago suspect that a boat carrying at least 14 corpses found in late May near the country's coasts had left from Mauritania with a group of migrants heading for the Canary Islands but was swept by strong currents to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

The police of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean Sea suspect that a boat carrying at least 14 corpses found in late May near the country's coasts had left from Mauritania.

The Tobago police chief in charge of the investigation, William Nurse, told reporters last week that the police had found that the boat had been stolen in Mauritania and a cellphone registered in that country was found on the boat.

Migrants believed to have been headed for Canary Islands

One of the hypotheses is that the boat ended up drifting and was dragged by strong currents to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean: a distance of over 5,000 kilometers. The fear is that the corpses found onboard, in an advanced state of decomposition, were of migrants that had been trying to reach the Canary Islands, the first European landing place for those fleeing West Africa.

UNHCR Special Envoy for the Western & Central Mediterranean Vincent Cochetel remarked on the incident in a June 3 tweet: "terrible tragedy again. Traffickers will not care. They do not have an obligation of results. Awful. With more departures from unaccountable Western Sahara, a difficult summer is ahead of us."

Boat sighted May 28

The identities of those found dead on the boat have not yet been confirmed and the presence of some other remains would hint at there having been more than 14 people onboard.

The boat was sighted on the morning of May 28 by fishermen near the island of Tobago.In February, the authorities of Guyana were told that a "ghost boat" had been sighted with corpses onboard but never found, according to local media.

 

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