The Beheira governorate announced on Tuesday that the sunken illegal migration boat was brought to the surface, and that authorities found 14 additional bodies, increasing the death toll to 184 victims.
The governorate added that 6 bodies were identified, which included four Egyptians and two victims of African origins.
The additional bodies were extracted from inside the boat, with almost 200 people travelling inside the refrigerated tanks of the fishing boat.
The governorate said that the boat was found 12 km off the shores of Rashid. The recovery of the boat was completed by the naval forces. The extracted bodies were transferred to hospitals in Alexandria, Beheira, and Kafr Al-Sheikh. Until the time of printing, the extraction process is still ongoing.
Until Sunday, 170 bodies were extracted. Seventy-five were identified while 94 remain unknown. Health officials will take blood samples from families in order to match the DNAs and identify the rest of the bodies.
The Egyptian parliament discussed the anti-immigration law on Tuesday, agreeing on criminal definitions such as smuggling, smugglers, transporter, and migrant. The parliament decided not to consider migrants as criminals, as reported by state media.
On Monday, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi criticised attempts of illegal immigration, calling on youth to remain in Egypt. The president also asked young people to abandon the idea of migration and instead stay in Egypt, arguing that Egypt has lots of job opportunities and “desperately needs them”.
He also urged the parliament to issue the anti-immigration law to combat the phenomenon. In the same context, security officials in Beheira arrested the owner of the boat, one of the boat’s crew members, as well as two human traffickers on Monday. They were referred to prosecution and are currently being investigated.
The deadly incident brought international attention to the phenomenon. German chancellor Angela Merkel asserted on Monday the need to initiate a deal between the European Union (EU) and Egypt and Tunisia, following the tragic sinking of the boat.
Merkel said that the agreements should be “along the lines of the agreement it already has with Turkey”, as quoted in Reuters. She also advised to spend more to deal with the causes of migration, citing conflict and poverty in the Middle East.
Last March, the EU and Turkey reached an agreement to enforce restrictions on the flow of migration, while Turkey was promised monetary aid and potential visa-free travel movement in compensation for its cooperation.