Egypt raised the wreck of a migrant boat Tuesday and recovered at least 33 bodies, taking to 202 the death toll from last week’s sinking off the country’s Mediterranean coast.
Up to 450 migrants had been crowded aboard the fishing trawler when it keeled over off the port city of Rosetta on September 21, including an estimated 100 in its hold.
The Egyptian military said 163 people had been rescued, the boat would have had at least 365 people on board when it went down en route to Italy, according to official figures.
On Monday, police detained the owner of the vessel. judicial source said he could face charges of human trafficking and involuntary manslaughter.
The United Nations’ refugee agency said Friday that most of those rescued were Egyptians but they also included migrants from Sudan, Eritrea, Syria and Ethiopians.
‘Since 2014, there has been a steady increase in the number of interceptions of refugees and migrants trying to leave Egypt in an irregular manner,’ said the UNHCR.
‘Many refugees and migrants may be using Egypt as a transit country,’ it said, adding 2016 was expected to be the deadliest year on record for Mediterranean crossings by migrants.
The International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday that 3,501 migrants and refugees have died or gone missing trying to cross the Mediterranean so far this year.
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