Friday, June 02, 2006

A voyage into death

They left Africa on Christmas Eve seeking a better life in Europe. Instead, the immigrants' rusty boat drifted and carried them to their deaths as it crossed the Atlantic Ocean and wound up near the Caribbean islands of Barbados.

By the time a fisherman found the boat on April 30, the bodies of 11 young men were virtually mummified by the sun and salt spray. One had written a farewell note to his family in Senegal before dying.

"I would like to send ... a sum of money. Please excuse me and good-bye" said the note, tucked between bodies.

With transit routes to Europe through Morocco becoming gradually sealed, immigrants are taking to the seas farther down the coast of northwest Africa, some traveling in overcrowded fishing boats more than 1,000 miles in stages to reach Europe.

The boats often get lost or break down, drifting helplessly in the Atlantic or capsizing in rough seas.

Typically, canoe-shaped boats built to carry six to eight people on a fishing trip are crammed with dozens of people and supplies for the voyage north.

The boat found off the coast of Barbados apparently left Senegal on Africa's west coast with 52 people aboard, Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall said Wednesday.

"This is the end of my life in this big Moroccan sea," the disoriented passenger wrote.

His boat was not off the coast of Morocco -- it had drifted more than 2,000 miles west to Barbados.

The white, 20-foot boat, streaked with rust and capped by a small wheelhouse, was apparently bound for Spain's Canary Islands, a gateway to Europe located in the Atlantic about 200 miles off Morocco's southern coast. Spanish authorities have launched two investigations, police said.

It's unclear where many of the passengers were from, though officials presume they were Senegalese, Marshall said. Police found currency in euros, a travel itinerary and an airline ticket from Senegal Airways in the boat.


Blogger Najlae said...

do u mind putting the source please?

6:48 AM, June 03, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home