Migrant Sea Ordeal Ends as Stricken Ship Docks at Mauritania
An unseaworthy vessel transporting hundreds of male Asian and
African undocumented migrants docked on Monday in the northern
Mauritanian port of Nouadhibou after more than a week in
international waters off the coast of the West African state.
The ship landed shortly before noon and by evening, all 369
migrants were allowed to disembark from the Marine 1.
“IOM is relieved that a solution was found to end the
migrants’ ordeal at sea,” says IOM’s Michael
Tschanz who is heading an IOM team in Nouadhibou. “We will
work with our partners to ensure that those migrants who wish to
return home on a voluntary basis can do so as soon as
The sick and vulnerable, many of whom suffered from diarrhoea
and exhaustion, were attended to by the Mauritanian Red Crescent
and Spanish Red Cross.
The migrants, 35 West Africans and 334 South Asians, are
currently being interviewed by consular officers from India,
Pakistan and Guinea Conakry.
IOM staff have started providing counselling to the migrants
about the possibility of voluntary return home.
The migrants were believed to be trying to reach Spain’s
Canary Islands when the rusting Marine 1 experienced engine
In a bid to help the many migrants often left stranded in West
Africa by smugglers, IOM has been providing assisted voluntary
return home to numerous groups of Africans and South Asian migrants
in recent years.
West Africa remains a major smuggling route for irregular
migration to Europe, particularly from South Asia. With increased
land and sea border controls, smuggling networks have moved
departure points further south from Morocco, to Mauritania, to
Senegal and now to Guinea Conakry. The longer sea journeys expose
the migrants to even further dangers.
For further information, please contact: