The Tunisian navy and coastguards have rescued 54 migrants Friday on a boat heading to Europe that was about to sink in Mediterranean waters.
The migrants, aged between 15 and 40 left neighbouring Libya late Thursday but their boat began to founder in waters off the southern Tunisian port of Ben Guerdane.
The defence ministry said in a statement that the migrants include citizens of multiple nationalities, many from sub-Saharan African countries.
Tunisia and Libya are key departure points for migrants attempting the dangerous crossing from the North African coast to Europe.
According to the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR, at least 700 people have died trying to cross the central Mediterranean in the last five months.
With 11,000 departures from January to April 2021, UNHCR cited that there is 70 percent increase in the number leaving Libya from last year within the same period.
In March 2021, over 39 migrants died as 2 boats crossing the Mediterranean to Lampedusa, Italy sank off Tunisia. Coastguard rescued 165 persons and searched for more survivors.