The Tunisian Navy rescued 126 migrants from drowning off the country’s south-eastern coast, the Tunisian Red Crescent said Sunday.
According to dpa, the migrants were on a journey heading for Italy late Saturday when their rubber boat developed a problem off Tunisia’s Mediterranean Sea town of Zarzis. They included 48 women and three infants.
The migrants, all of them from Africa, had left Libya’s coastal town of Sabratha three days earlier, Mongi Slim, an official in the Tunisian Red Crescent, told state news agency TAP.
He added that the migrants would be transported from the Zarzis port to accommodation centers run by the UN refugee agency and International Organization for Migration.
In April 2015, the Tunisian Navy has taken delivery of one of four full cabin inboard boats (photo) from US-based SAFE Boats International as it deals with increasing maritime security threats, including terrorism and the wave of illegal immigrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea in search of work in Europe.
The 20.3-meter-long vessels enable the Tunisian Navy to conduct extended off-shore security operations along the Mediterranean coast.
These extremely versatile boats feature dual 1600hp diesel engines, shock mitigating seating, climate control, navigation package, and are capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots.
Each boat is powered by two MTU 10V2000 diesel engines that drive a Hamilton HM521 water-jet with additional thrust coming from 340 kilowatt impellers for a maximum operating range of 400 nautical miles cruising at a maximum speed of 40 knots.
The US Coast Guard funded the acquisition through the Foreign Military Sales program.
These deliveries are joining a fleet of 20 SAFE Boats already in service with the Tunisian Navy.
In March 2017, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) concluded a four-day joint training engagement with the Tunisian Navy in the vicinity of the Tunis and Bizerte Main Naval Bases.
As part of this engagement, the Maritime Tactical Operations Group of the RCN - a team of naval specialists in boarding at sea - worked with the TN to further develop professional relationships. As well, they exchanged information on techniques and procedures used in maritime security operations.