Cape Verde boat disaster: more lives could have been saved, insists NGO
The Guardian|August 18, 2023
A Spanish NGO alerted the authorities from four countries on 20 July about a boat carrying an estimated 130 asylum seekers that was found this week with just 38 survivors and the bodies of seven dead people onboard.
Lorenzo Tondo
Cape Verde boat disaster: more lives could have been saved, insists NGO

Relatives of those onboard said the large fishing vessel had left Fass Boye, a seaside town in Senegal on 10 July, and was heading for Spain's Canary Islands. The boat was spotted on Monday about 170 miles north of the Cape Verdean island of Sal.

"Our organisation ... became aware of the departure of the boat on 20 July," the Walking Borders NGO said. "The relatives of the people onboard informed us that they had left on 10 July and that 130 people were onboard. We activated our organisation's search protocol, informing the authorities of the corresponding countries [Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco and Spain] in the rescue of the route between Senegal and the Canary Islands."

The boat appears to have been left adrift for almost a month at the mercy of powerful trade winds in the Atlantic. The Atlantic migration route from west Africa to the Canary Islands, typically used to reach mainland Spain, is one of the world's deadliest.

Helena Maleno Garzón, the founder of Walking Borders, wrote in a tweet about the boat on 23 July: "A Senegalese fishing vessel disappeared with more than 120 people on board. They left 14 days ago and the desperate families ask for a reinforcement of search means."

This story is from the August 18, 2023 edition of The Guardian.

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This story is from the August 18, 2023 edition of The Guardian.

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