More than 60 individuals are presumed to have lost their lives when the boat they were aboard, traveling from Senegal, was discovered off Cape Verde, according to a statement by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday.

The tragedy involved at least 63 asylum seekers who are believed to have perished, while 38 survivors, including four children aged 12 to 16, were accounted for, an IOM spokesperson informed AFP.

Initially, reports indicated that the vessel had sunk, but later clarification revealed that it had been found adrift in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa, approximately 150 nautical miles (277 kilometers) from Cape Verde’s Sal island. The vessel was located by a Spanish fishing boat, which promptly alerted Cape Verdean authorities.

Although the exact timing of the incident remains uncertain, survivors reported that the boat had departed from Senegal on July 10 with around 100 passengers onboard.

Emergency services have recovered the remains of seven individuals, with an additional 56 people presumed missing, the IOM spokesperson reported. The spokesperson also noted that when people are reported missing following a shipwreck, they are generally presumed to have perished.

Cape Verde, situated about 350 miles (600 kilometers) off the coastline on the maritime route to Spain’s Canary Islands, serves as a crucial point along the perilous Atlantic migration route from West Africa to the Canary Islands, a route known for its high fatality rate.

The IOM emphasized the dire lack of safe and regulated migration pathways, which often compels smugglers and traffickers to exploit such hazardous journeys. The organization underscored that in 2022 alone, at least 559 individuals had lost their lives while attempting to reach the Canary Islands, and 126 people had died or gone missing in the first half of the current year, accompanied by 15 shipwrecks on the same route.

The tragic incident adds to a string of maritime disasters that underscore the ongoing challenges and perils faced by migrants seeking better lives.

Source: The Guardian (Note: The provided content contains both the news article and a message from The Guardian regarding support for their journalism.

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