A small boat carrying migrants has capsized off Guinea-Bissau, a port official said, adding that the vessel may have had more than 60 people on board when it set off.
Coast Guard Commander Siga Batista said on Wednesday that the pirogue, a narrow wooden fishing vessel, sank on Monday night off the coastline and there were no patrol ships to save lives on the high seas.
“An overloaded pirogue, transporting illegal migrants, capsized in our waters,” Batista told AFP news agency by telephone.
“We don’t know how many people were on board when the boat sank, nor their identity or even their nationality. But according to information that has reached me there were more than 60 people on board the pirogue,” Batista said.
“Due to the financial situation, we have had difficulty organising a rescue operation,” he added.
The wreckage has since been found, but no bodies have been recovered.
Local radio stations in the West African country have asked fishermen to tell authorities if they spot any bodies or passengers still alive.
The coastal surveillance agency has two speedboats, but these are often prevented from leaving the port due to lack of fuel, a navy officer said on condition of anonymity.