Spain has located 69 African migrants who had gone missing while trying to reach Europe by boat, the country’s Maritime Rescue service said Tuesday.
Spanish maritime authorities rescued 119 migrants from the Mediterranean Sea first before resuming the search for the 69 others from a boat that was trying to reach European shores.
A rescue ship and a plane have been utilized to search for the missing rubber boat lost in a stretch of sea between Spain and Morocco, Spain’s Maritime Rescue agency said.
A rescue charity alerted authorities Monday about the boat’s departure from Moroccan shores, saying that 49 men, 13 women and 5 children were on board, the official said.
Also on Monday, rescuers found two rubber boats in the Alboran Sea with 60 and 59 migrants from Africa. The migrants, including 26 women and five children, disembarked in Spain’s southeastern city of Malaga and were all in good health, the spokeswoman said.
Refugees fleeing violence and migrants fleeing poverty look for a new life in Europe by setting off on dangerous trips by sea from African coasts.
Spain became the main entry point into Europe for migrants in 2018 but saw the number of arrivals halved last year to 26,168. Recently it has seen an uptick in the number of boats heading to the Canary Islands, which lie in the Atlantic Ocean off Africa’s northeastern coast.
Morocco received 140 million Euros (US$155 million) in European Union funds in 2019 to crack down on illegal migrant crossings. (Source: Mainichi Japan)