Police say migrants were beaten and stabbed during the voyage. Many of them were locked in the hold.
The tragedy was just another in a series underlining the desperation gripping those unfortunate people trying to escape poverty and violence in Africa. It shows too how inadequate our response to the humanitarian emergency has been and that we must do more to try to offer an humane response to those in such dreadful peril.
Some of those murdered may have fled Zimbabwe, a once secure and relatively stable society now falling into the grip of famine under the corrupt and increasingly volatile leadership of Robert Mugabe, who has ruled that unfortunate country since 1987. Mr Mugabe will be 94 when the country next goes to the polls in 2018 and has not ruled out the possibility of contesting that election.
There are many, many reasons thousands of Africans try to flee the continent of their birth, but dysfunctional and corrupt governments are a common theme. Until representative, relatively honest and decent governance becomes the norm in Africa, the migration crisis will grow and grow.