A fishing boat carrying 56 Egyptians trying to illegally immigrate to Italy capsized off the coast of the town of Metoubes in the Kafr El-Sheikh governorate on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast on Friday.
Two bodies so far have been recovered from the wreckage and were transferred to the hospital morgue in Beheira, reported state-run Al-Ahram.
At the time of publication, rescue crews were still combing the wreckage of the fishing vessel attempting to save survivors, and recover more bodies.
Last Tuesday, 67 people were arrested by border guards along with state security forces off of Metoubes while trying to illegally sail to Italy. The boat was carrying 62 Egyptians, 4 Somalis and 1 Syrian, and the trip had been brokered for the migrants for a fee between EGP 25,000 and 40,000.
When asked about the issue of migrants and refugees crossing from Egypt, Mohamed Dayri, the UNHCR’s regional representative in Egypt, said the United Nations holds sessions informing “refugees and asylum seekers on the consequences of irregular departure from Egypt by sea” and that the UNHCR has stressed to the migrants “the importance of respecting Egyptian laws and regulations”.
He added that “UNHCR is aware of attempts by refugees to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe” and advised refugees and asylum seekers to honour Egyptian laws and requirements.
The Ministry of Interior was unable to comment on Friday’s events.