After an alarm launched a Mediterranean search, the rescue organisation claims there is no sign of the 500-migrant boat


The rescue group Alarm Phone said on Saturday that after an alarm was raised regarding a boat with around 500 migrants heading to the Mediterranean Sea, they were unable to locate the vessel.

The alarm was raised earlier in the day by the Tunisian authorities who “were alerted to the presence of a boat containing approximately 500 people” attempting to flee to Europe, according to a statement from the Alarm Phone.

The NGO, who attempts to locate boats in the Mediterranean in distress carrying refugees and migrants, launched a search, but was unable to find any signs of the much-larger-than-usual vessel.

In a subsequent update, Alarm Phone said it had not heard of any rescue vessels being deployed in the area, leading to the conclusion that the boat must have “evaporated”.

The group also said they received little further information from the Tunisian authorities, including any details of the boat, the identity of the refugees, and their intended destination.

The disappearance of the vessel has caused consternation among the NGO, who worry that the boat may have sunk without leaving a trace.

The incident serves as a reminder of the continuing plight of refugees and migrants attempting to make their way to Europe. Although the numbers of people attempting to make the journey have significantly declined since 2015, when more than 1 million people crossed the Mediterranean, tens of thousands are still believed to be making the treacherous journey on crowded and dangerous boats.

The alarm raised on Saturday may have been a false alarm, but it is still a worrying reminder of the risks faced by those attempting to cross the Mediterranean to seek a new life in Europe.