At least 140 migrants have drowned off Senegal in the deadliest shipwreck recorded this year, the United Nations migration agency said in a statement Thursday.
The boat caught fire and capsized on Saturday, shortly after leaving the town of Mbour.
The ship was carrying about 200 people, according to the U.N. International Organization for Migration (IOM) statement. It added that, “according to media sources, the Senegalese and Spanish navies, and fishermen who were nearby rescued 59 people and retrieved the remains of 20 others.”
Saturday’s incident was the deadliest of its kind anywhere in the world this year, the UN said.
The IOM is deeply saddened by this recent tragedy, which follows four shipwrecks recorded in the Central Mediterranean last week and another in the English Channel,” the statement said. The number of migrant boat departures from West Africa to the Canary Islands has “significantly increased” in recent weeks, it continued.
Fourteen boats carrying 663 migrants left Senegal for the islands in September, the IOM said, over a quarter of which experienced an incident or shipwreck.
Spain have stepped up patrols recently since the incident.
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