38 migrants dead, 150 missing after shipwreck off Yemen’s Shabwa

At least 38 African migrants, most of them women, have died after an overloaded boat capsized near the southern province of Shabwa in Yemen. More than 150 passengers are still missing.

An aid worker told Arab News that the migrants, including 28 women, perished after the vessel sank two nautical miles off the coast of Al-Noshema on Monday morning.

“Survivors informed us that the boat, carrying 260 migrants, sank owing to heavy winds,” said the Yemeni worker, who asked to remain anonymous, adding that 72 migrants had arrived safely at the shore.

Another relief worker who treated the survivors reported 48 people dead and 15 in a serious condition.

Images shared with Arab News show piled-up bodies being transported by vehicle to the grave.

According to Abdul Sallam bin Sama, a journalist from Shabwa, fishermen spotted the bodies floating in the sea and began hauling them to the beach. The dead were buried on Monday at Ain Bamabad.

Along with the Red Sea Ras Al-Ara in Lahj province, coastal areas in Shabwa such as Al-Noshema are among the landing locations for thousands of African migrants who arrive in Yemen each year.

Shabwa residents told Arab News that the number of those entering the province had increased significantly in recent months.

“They come in large numbers almost every day on the coast of Shabwa. Migrants who have money use a car to Attaq, whilst others who do not walk to the city,” said Omer Awadh, a Yemeni officer.
The International Organization for Migration said this year that the number of African migrants coming yearly had tripled from roughly 27,000 in 2021 to over 90,000 in 2023, despite the war in Yemen and recent Houthi assaults on ships in the Red Sea.

Meanwhile, US Central Command announced on Monday morning that a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis had damaged the Liberian-flagged, Swiss-owned and operated container ship M/V Tavvishi in the Gulf of Aden during the last 24 hours. A second missile was destroyed.

The Houthis launched two missiles at the M/V Norderney, an Antigua and Barbados-flagged cargo ship owned and managed by Germany, also in the Gulf of Aden, but the ship proceeded despite the damage.

US Central Command said its forces destroyed a drone launched by the Houthis from Yemen, as well as two land attack cruise missiles and one missile launcher in Houthi-controlled Yemeni territory.

The Houthis claimed on Sunday they had attacked the M/V Tavvishi and the M/V Norderney for allegedly breaching a ban on sailing to Israel and vowed to continue targeting ships until Israel lifted its blockade of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

The Houthis have seized one commercial ship, sunk another, and launched hundreds of ballistic missiles and drones at international commercial and navy ships in the international sea lanes off Yemen since November last year.

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