The Mediterranean Sea crossing continues to be one of the most dangerous routes for migrants attempting to reach Europe.
Rabat – Waiting at the doorstep of Europe, thousands of migrants and refugees in North Africa see the journey across the Mediterranean as the final obstacle between the hardships of their past and the hope of safety in Europe.
Yet, this crossing is a larger obstacle than many first perceive, and the journey across the Mediterranean remains one of the most dangerous routes for migration in the world, with thousands of migrants dying along the path every year.
For the most fortunate of these migrants, the journey will be interrupted by an NGO or passerby willing to help them along to Europe. For the least fortunate of these migrants, the makeshift boats in which they attempt the journey become waterlogged coffins in the salty waters of the Mediterranean.
Floating adrift in the Mediterranean Sea, 27 migrants were found and rescued by a Spanish passenger ferry on June 20; however, less fortunate were the additional 22 migrants previously on board who did not survive the journey.
No bodies were found aboard the ship, and according to the rescued passengers, the deceased were thrown overboard into the sea during the course of the journey. Corroborating this claim, an NGO confirmed that a migrant ship carrying 49 people did indeed leave from the Moroccan city of Al Hoceima en route to Spain.
Fleeing from violence, poverty, and persecution, tens of thousands of migrants attempt to make their way to Europe each year, their resolve called into question each time one of their traveling companions falls along the way.
Though thousands continue to attempt the crossing, the journey across the Mediterranean has never been more dangerous, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reporting that nearly two percent of migrants and refugees who attempt the crossing will never reach their destination.
Despite the risks, the hope for a better future is still enough to drive thousands to attempt the journey, regardless of how grim their chances of survival are.
With little sympathy from either the Moroccan or European governments, many of these refugees are left to fend for themselves, constantly threatened by human trafficking, violence, arrest, and harassment.
While these deaths are not the first, nor will they be the last, they serve as a painful reminder of the lengths to which migrants are willing to go in the hopes of securing a better future for themselves and their loved ones.