Fifty-five people were drowned, or missing and presumed to
have drowned, after an overcrowded boat capsized off the
Somali coast, the UN refugee agency said.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a
statement that the accident was the worst such incident in
the Gulf of Aden since February 2011 when 57 Somali migrants
perished attempting to reach Yemen.
The UN agency quoted five of the survivors, all young Somali
men, as saying the boat was overcrowded and ran into trouble
almost immediately after leaving the port of Bosasso in the
northern Somali breakaway region of Puntland.
It capsized just 15 minutes into its journey, spilling all 60
passengers into the sea. Those on board were Ethiopians and
Somalis, the UNHCR said.
So far, 23 bodies have been recovered, including those of 14
women, eight men, and a boy said to be less than four years
of age. Five of the dead are confirmed to have been
Ethiopians. The 32 remaining passengers are presumed to have
"Without doubt, the Gulf of Aden is now the deadliest route
for people fleeing conflict, violence and human rights abuses
in the Horn of Africa," said UNHCR Representative for
Somalia, Bruno Geddo.
African migrants often use unseaworthy boats to try to reach
Yemen, seen as a gateway to wealthier parts of the Middle
East and the West. Hundreds of migrants have perished at sea.
The UNHCR estimates that 100,000 people have crossed the Red
Sea and the Gulf of Aden this year, despite warnings about
The latest deaths bring the number of those drowned or
missing in the waters between Somalia and Yemen this year to
95, the UNHCR said.