At least three Tunisians migrants died and another three were missing after their boat sank off Tunisia on Thursday, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy, a Tunisian civil protection official told Reuters.
Atef Haouij, a local official in Medenine, said that the boat, which contained 17 Tunisian migrants, sank off the coast of the island of Djerba.
Late in May, more than 70 people were reported missing in the Mediterranean after a boat crowded with migrants headed for Europe from Libya sank off neighboring Tunisia.
The boat, which was carrying around 100 people when it put to sea, capsized off the Tunisian port of Sfax, with coastguard and navy units able to pull 24 people out of the water.
Tunisia’s Sfax region is a busy departure point for attempts to reach Europe, some of them by its own citizens.
In early May, authorities said they had found the bodies of 24 migrants who had drowned in such attempts.
Last year, 15,671 migrants attempted to reach Italy from Tunisia, up from fewer than 13,000 in 2020, according to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES).
Nearly 2,000 migrants went missing or drowned in the Mediterranean in 2021, compared to 1,401 the previous year, according to the IOM.