After the crisis in Lebanon and the decline of the economic crisis, many chose illegal immigration as their only escape. Still, on the other hand, boat owners and those involved in this field exploited the Lebanese’s situation to put them in horrific situations that resulted in the “death boat” disaster.
Death boat catastrophe
After an illegal immigration boat left Tripoli in Lebanon, the disaster occurred in Tartous, which helped find survivors. The sinking of the Lebanese boat comes just a week after the death of the Syrian engineer, Muhammad Barjas, his two children, and his wife in the sinking of a migrant boat off the Greek coast.
Many of the victims sold all their possessions to be able to pay for their escape to Europe, and some of them spent more than $20,000 to depart their whole families.
Survivors recount that three hours after the departure of the boat, the boat began to tumble unsteadily, and the sea waves began tossing it in different directions. A survivor reported that all men, women, and children on board felt terror and panic for more than 48 hours as the boat was tossed by high waves.
When he arrived at Al-Basel Hospital in Tartus, he found out that the boat had sunk in Syrian waters, but he didn’t know where it had sunk until he reached the hospital. He mentions that he lost touch with his wife and children, and he wants nothing more than to see them among the survivors.”.
Death is more expensive than life
As if fleeing poverty and hunger from Lebanon was not bad enough, the enormous costs of burials and were paid in dollars, Lebanon’s lost currency.
In one case, a family had to sell everything they owned to secure payment supplies, while another family had to exchange gold for graves, and one charitable group donated two graves to a destitute family to bury their children.
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Death boat master is behind bars!
A squad from the army intelligence branch in al-Abdah intercepted Bilal Y after the illegal immigration boat left the beach of Miniyeh on Wednesday night referred to as the smugglers’ “king,” who was in charge of the boat’s journey and which sank the following day off the coast of Tartus, Syria. A security source, however, confirmed that his detention took place at the same time as the boat capsized. “After he made the second trip in less than two months, it was decided to have him arrested. He switched his departure location to Minya after the journey from Al-Abdah beach was abandoned multiple times.
He used to maintain a low profile, but now he utilizes drugs, supports drug usage, and is infamous for being harsh to passengers. On the last voyage, the captain was compelled to set sail despite the small fishing boat being overloaded with 170 passengers due to severe seas, overloads, and running out of fuel. However, the source claims that he sent three armed men to board the boat and force it to set sail. After a few hours of sailing, it was rumored that “the captain jumped off the boat and moved to another boat, convinced that the boat would sink.”
A history of illegal immigration
It seems striking in the tragedy of the drowning of these illegal immigrants from Lebanon, this time the presence of other nationalities other than the Lebanese, on the sinking boat, as there were Palestinians and Syrians on board alongside the Lebanese, and according to multiple sources, the 25 Palestinians on board the sinking boat are A resident of Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon.
According to a BBC report, Lebanon is witnessing a significant rise in immigration rates, driven by a devastating economic collapse that left large sectors of the Lebanese people suffering poverty over the past three years, and the report refers to statistics, according to which the number of those trying to leave Lebanon by sea, in 2021, it doubled more than it was during 2020, according to estimates by the United Nations Refugee Agency, while the number increased again by 70% during 2022.
However, the desperate pursuit of life by many Arab youths is not limited to the Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians only. Incidents of boarding death boats, on dangerous journeys, are repeated in many Arab countries, and news of those who drown in those boats has become a familiar thing in the media. From Libya to Tunisia to Morocco.
The Arab Barometer poll, which was carried out by the Arab Barometer Network, in cooperation with the BBC in 2019, indicated that 20% of the participants expressed their desire to emigrate, and in the age group between 18-29 years, the percentage reached 52%.
It was striking among the results reached by the Arab Barometer poll that those wishing to emigrate showed a willingness to travel without official papers (illegal immigration). In Sudan, for example, the percentage of these people reached 43%, which is almost the same in Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, and Morocco. While it reached 12% in Lebanon and 18% in Jordan.