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Letter sent on Oct 7, 2015

Can You Find the Ghost Boat?

Last summer 243 people disappeared.

Young people. Women. Children.

And no one cares about it.


My name is Yafet. I am from Eritrea. Last year, my wife, Segen, and my daughter Abigail, escaped to Libya to catch a refugee boat to Italy. The last time I spoke to them was June 27, 2014.

Nobody knows what happened after that.

We think they were in Italy. They weren’t. We think they were in Libya. Nothing. We think that they were in Tunisia, but we don’t have any evidence. It’s really hard to think that they drowned at sea. It’s hard to accept something like this.

Now I am here outside my country, no relatives, no one who cares about me — and no one cares about them, not even here in Sudan or elsewhere.

I don’t know what I think now.


Two hundred and forty three people missing. It’s not a small number, you know. I just want to ask the NGOs and humanitarian organizations and other people — who say they care about human beings — why they didn’t respond to us.

If you remember Charlie Hebdo in Paris, 14 or 15 people, they got shot by some terrorists. The world stopped for them. But they were white people, Europeans.

The same thing for Malaysia Airlines. All the world, all the countries, were trying to find what happened.

But in our case, nothing.

Who is going to help us find out what happened?


You can.

There are hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Africa and the Middle East for Europe right now, but even in this chaos the mystery of the Ghost Boat is unique — a boat of refugees that simply vanished, leaving no trace… just a host of confusing and contradictory clues.

Yafet’s family is just one of those torn apart as a result.

Now, in a new series from Matter, we’re looking for the Ghost Boat — and we’re asking you to help us. Over the next two months we’ll be reporting from the ground across North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, and sharing information and data that gives you the chance to move the investigation forward.

So, go and read Yafet’s story and see if you can help.