DHAKA: At least 15 Rohingya Muslim refugees died and many more were missing on Tuesday, after a ship carrying about 130 people capsized in the Bay of Bengal while trying to reach Malaysia, a Bangladesh coast guard official said.
About 70 of those aboard the vessel were rescued alive, said the official, Hamidul Islam, adding that it had set sail early on Tuesday, packed with people trying to illegally flee from camps near the resort town of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
“It was inhumane,” he said. “The boat was carrying roughly 130 people, while it had a capacity of 50.”
Women and children make up the 15 dead, said Islam, adding that the vessel capsized near Saint Martin’s Island, off the southeastern tip of Bangladesh.
In 2017, a crackdown by Myanmar’s military drove more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
Buddhist-majority Myanmar has denied U.N. accusations that its military waged a campaign against Rohingya with “genocidal intent”.
In November, Bangladesh’s coast guard rescued 122 Rohingya Muslim refugees from the Bay of Bengal as the vessel they had boarded to illegally flee to Malaysia started sinking because of a mechanical problem.