More than 300 Asians in a drifting freight ship off Africa

By Walter Jayawardhana


A freight ship carrying at least 400 possible illegal immigrants the majority of whom are believed to be Asians is stranded off the waters of the West African nation of Mauritania, reports said.

The ship named Marine 1 started its troubles, the reports said when its engines broke down near Senegal on February 2 and now it has been towed by the Spanish Coast Guard Vessel near the coast of Mauritania the reports added.

According to some estimates 305 passengers of the freight liner are from Kashmir and the others are from Myanmar, Sri Lanka ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

International Organization of Migration said their organization together with Mauritiana Red Crescent and Spanish Red Cross traveled to the stranded ship and delivered about five tons of drinking water food and humanitarian supplies to the stranded passengers of the ship. .

The people who went to the stranded ship to deliver the supplies were unable to board the ship due to high seas but delivered the goods IOM said.

The people in the ship communicated with the people who went to deliver the supplies by radio and said the passengers were sea sick and suffering from diarrhea . Some of the passengers were so desperate two of them jumped from the ship and picked up by the boats the reports added.

The ship was carrying these passengers to the Spanish canary islands. The ship without the engines is just drifting on the high seas currently since so far no country has allowed the ship to enter any of their ports.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR on Thursday added its voice to calls for the freighter to be allowed to enter a safe port.

“At this point in time, the main priority should be to help these people and not let them drift on the high seas in precarious conditions,” George Okoth-Obbo, UNHCR Director for Protection, said in a statement from Geneva.


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Posted on February 9, 2007, in Sri Lanka and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on More than 300 Asians in a drifting freight ship off Africa.

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