Spain’s maritime rescue services and the Civil Guard rescued 258 people from the coast of Andalusia, in the south of the country, this weekend. The rescued migrants were taken to different cities in the southern region: 139 were transferred to the ports of Málaga, 41 and Almería and 15 to Vélez-Málaga.
According to sources from the maritime rescue team, crew on the rescue ship Sar Mastelero spotted two small “overcrowded” boats in the Alborán Sea early on Sunday morning and urgently acted to save the 59 men and eight women on board. The ship then saved 72 people (60 men, nine women and three children) who were traveling on another vessel. The 139 migrants rescued were taken to Málaga.
So far this year, 596 migrants have died along the sea route to Spain
Later in the day, migrants on board a different small boat, spotted by the plane Condor IV, were saved by the maritime rescue ship Concepción Arenal. The 21 men from North Africa were taken to Almería, along with 20 other migrants who were rescued from a fourth boat by the Civil Guard’s Río Segura patrol ship in the Alborán Sea. Another 63 people were rescued by maritime rescue services and the Civil Guard in the Strait of Gibraltar.
The body of a man from sub-Saharan Africa was found in the Spanish exclave city of Ceuta on the northern coast of Africa. Hours later, the body of another migrant was found close to Caños de Meca beach in Cádiz in the south of Spain, the 12th victim of last week’s tragic shipwreck.
Two more bodies were found on Saturday on a rubber raft that had reached Chilches beach in Vélez-Málaga with 15 people on board. Police say the migrants fled once they reached the shore but eight people, including two minors, have since been detained and taken to a migration center in Torremolinos in Andalusia. Police are continuing to look for the other five migrants, one of whom is suspected to be the captain of the boat.
So far this year, 596 migrants have died along the sea route to Spain, according to the International Organization for Migration (OIM). It is the worst figure in a decade, and nearly four times higher than in the same period the year before.
English version by Melissa Kitson.