9.22.2017

Fifteen dead as refugee boat capsizes in Black Sea | Romania News

At least 15 people drowned and up to 15 more were missing after a Europe-bound fishing boat carrying refugees and migrants sunk off Turkey’s Black Sea coast, the coast guard said.

Forty people were saved but search and rescue efforts are under way to find between 13 and 15 people still missing off the Kefken district, the statement said.

The area lies about 130 kilometres (80 miles) east of Istanbul.

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One pregnant woman who was rescued was taken to hospital but lost her baby, state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Mehmet Unal, a local official in the nearby town of Kandira, said the boat was believed to be carrying 70 migrants, most of whom were Iraqis.

Unconfirmed media reports said the refugees and migrants had boarded the boat in Zonguldak which lies further to the east, and were trying to cross into Romania.

The boat reportedly sank due to bad weather and rough waters.

Western Turkey and the Black Sea had been hit by a heavy storm and rains overnight.

Turkey has emerged as a hub for migrants from troubled countries around the world including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who are seeking a route west to the European Union.

On Thursday, Libyan authorities said more than 90 migrants were missing after a boat went under off the country’s coast. At least eight people were confirmed dead. 

In 2015, around a million people undertook risky sea journeys to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, mostly to Greece from Turkey over the Aegean Sea.

Thousands died in the perilous crossing. Responding to international pressure, Turkey tightened its sea borders and cracked down on migrant smuggling rings as part of a 2016 deal with the European Union.

The numbers of refugees and migrants crossing the Aegean has now dwindled. But increasing numbers, now rising to hundreds within a month, are now trying to cross the Black Sea from Turkey to EU member Romania.

READ MORE: IOM says refugees dying at quicker rate in Mediterranean

Some 834 refugees and migrants were caught and 10 smugglers detained in seven Black Sea incidents between mid-August and early September, according to statistics published by Anadolu.

Separately, 237 refugees and migrants and five organisers were caught in two other incidents in the area whose timing was not specified. 

Refugees and migrants are dying in the Mediterranean at a quicker rate than last year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported.

At least 2,550 refugees and migrants died from January 1 to September 13, 2017, compared with 3,262 from the same period in 2016, the IOM said – a drop of 22 percent.

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Source: News agencies

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