US Coast Guard searches for 39 missing from Florida shipwreck – 01/25/2022 – World

The US Coast Guard is looking for 39 people who went missing after their boat capsized off the coast of Florida. The searches are based on the report of a man found alone clinging to the overturned hull of the vessel. The authorities suspect that the shipwreck took place in the midst of a human trafficking operation.

A statement issued by the port authority said that a person rescued the man on Tuesday morning (25), at a point in the sea about 72 kilometers east of Fort Pierce Inlet. The individual said that the boat he was on left Bimini, an island in the Bahamas 80 kilometers from Miami, on Saturday night (22), with 39 other people on board.

According to what this survivor said, the shipwreck was due to adverse weather conditions. None of the passengers wore a life jacket. The nationality of the rescued man was not disclosed, nor are the origins of the 39 disappeared known.

Several patrol boats and aircraft were deployed by the US Coast Guard to track an area from the Bimini Islands to Fort Pierce Inlet further north. A Coast Guard spokesman told Reuters that last Friday (21) a rescue of 32 people had already been carried out after a boat capsized in the same region.

The Bahamas, an archipelago of 700 islets (39 of them inhabited), is often a transit point for migrants who want to reach the US on risky sea voyages. In general, these people depart from Cuba and Haiti.

This type of incident is not uncommon off the coast of Florida. In May of last year, 12 Cubans died after their boat capsized off Key West. Another 8 were rescued alive at the time.

According to the Coast Guard, at least 557 migrants from the island have already been captured in this fiscal year, which began in October 2021. In the five previous years added together, there were about 7,400 such apprehensions. Among Haitians —who live in their country with a stack of political, economic, social and climate crises—, there are already 159 people intercepted this fiscal year.

Last week, 90 Dominicans were repatriated after three vessels in the Puerto Rico region were blocked because of irregular migration.

On the other side of the Atlantic, sea crossings by migrants also drew attention in late 2021. In November, at least 27 of them died trying to cross the English Channel, in the worst accident of its kind in the region since 2014, when local data began to be collected. collected.

Gangs began using the sea route after the governments of France and the United Kingdom tightened controls on trucks, in which migrants were hidden. On the rise since 2018, boat crossings exploded this year, causing friction between the two countries.

According to Paris authorities, in 2021 alone more than 31,000 people tried to cross the channel from the French coast, with more than 7,800 rescued; nearly 26,000 immigrants have applied for asylum in the UK.

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