At least 140 people drowned on board a migrant shipwreck off the coast of Senegal, marking the deadliest ship accident recorded this year.
The United Nations migration agency announced the capsizing that happened Thursday, reporting approximately 200 people on board at the time of the incident.
"The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is deeply saddened by this recent tragedy, which follows four shipwrecks recorded in the Central Mediterranean last week and another in the English Channel," the agency said in a statement.
IOM said the boat was headed for Spain's Canary Islands but caught fire hours after departing from Mbour, a coastal town in western Senegal.
The boat capsized near Saint-Louis on the country's northwest coast, where Senegalese and Spanish navies, along with fisherman, rescued 59 people and retrieved the remains of 20 others who were from the migrant ship.
At least 140 migrants have drowned off Senegal in the deadliest shipwreck recorded this year, the United Nations migration agency sayshttps://t.co/0AZmOqkiiE— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) October 29, 2020
The agency said the estimated number of migrant boat departures from West Africa to the Canary Islands has more than quadrupled this year to 11,000.
IOM added that 14 boats ferrying 663 migrants attempted to make the journey in September, to which over a quarter were capsized or had an accident.
"We call for unity between governments, partners, and the international community to dismantle trafficking and smuggling networks that take advantage of desperate youth," IOM Senegal Chief of Mission Bakary Doumbia said in the statement.