60 migrants feared dead as Guinea-Bissau boat sinks

60 migrants feared dead as Guinea-Bissau boat sinks

Bissau: A small boat carrying migrants has capsized off Guinea-Bissau, a port official said, adding the vessel may have had over 60 people on board when it set off. Commander Siga Batista said the pirogue, a narrow wooden fishing vessel, sank on Monday night off the impoverished West African country, 200 kms of coastline and no patrol ships to save lives on the high seas. “An overloaded pirogue, transporting illegal migrants, capsized in our waters,” Batista said, saying the fisheries surveillance department had alerted him about the disaster.

“We don’t know how many people were on board when the boat sank, nor their identity or even their nationality. But according to information there were more than 60 people on board the pirogue,” Batista added. No survivors have been found but radio stations have asked fishermen to tell authorities if they spot any bodies or passengers still alive. “Due to the financial situation, we have had difficulty organising a rescue operation,” Batista said. The coastal surveillance agency has two speedboats, but these are often prevented from leaving the port due to lack of fuel, a navy officer said requesting anonymity.Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony, is one of the world’s poorest nations.


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