Two Nigerian female migrants, bound for Europe were rescued in a shipwreck off the coast of Tunisia. However, 17 other African migrants were not so lucky.
They drowned as they tried to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, the Tunisian Red Crescent said on Thursday.
The Tunisian coastguard rescued the two Nigerian women in waters off the southern town of Zarzis, Red Crescent official Mongi Slim also said.
The ship started on Sunday from Zawyia in Libya with 19 migrants on board.
The Nigerians were not identified.
Last month, at least 40 migrants drowned off Tunisia’s port of Sfax south of Tunis.
The United Nations said at least 300 people have perished in the central Mediterranean crossing this year while trying to get to Europe.
The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said fewer than 23,500 people have made its across the sea to Europe this year, with most new arrivals landing in Italy and Spain from Tunisia and Algeria.
The agency estimates 633 people have died or gone missing on the way this year.
Meanwhile, Tunisia’s central maritime guard units (Sfax and Mahdia) thwarted 4 illegal border crossing operations on the night of May 12 to 13, according to the spokesperson for the Sfax maritime guard district, Ali Ayari.
The same security source specified that during this operation 55 illegal immigrants were arrested including 14 Tunisians from Mahdia and Sfax aged between 17 and 33 years old.
Other migrants arrested were from Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Togo.
Ali Ayari said security units seized 5 fishing boats and quantities of fuel that were used in attempted illegal border crossings.