Refugees drown after call for assistance ignored in Gulf of Aden

Sixteen people fleeing Somalia by boat have drowned after their calls for help were ignored by a foreign naval vessel in the Gulf of Aden.

Gulf of Aden

Gulf of Aden

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), a boat carrying Somali refugees sank off the coast of Yemen.

In a separate incident, smugglers forced passengers, mainly Ethiopians, to swim to shore and one man drowned.

UNHCR’s Andrej Mahecic says the agency is concerned that the people in distress in the boat carrying Somalis were ignored by ships nearby.

“In total 16 people have drowned and another five are missing and presumed dead following two separate incidents in the Gulf. In the first incident which was the most tragic one where most of the lives were lost because in the second one only one person drowned, the survivors told us that during the voyage they saw a cargo ship and a foreign naval vessel. And they say that the naval ship approached their boat but ignored their cry for help.”

UNHCR is appealing to all ships in the Gulf of Aden to uphold the longstanding tradition of rescue at sea and helping vessels in distress.

Duration:  26″

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