a Red Cross member tends to rescued migrants as they arrive to Motril's Port in Granada, southern Spain (archive) |  Credit: EPA/ Alba Feixas
a Red Cross member tends to rescued migrants as they arrive to Motril's Port in Granada, southern Spain (archive) | Credit: EPA/ Alba Feixas

A sharp uptick in boats arriving off the shores of Spain was seen over the weekend. About 400 migrants arrived onboard about 20 boats on the coasts of Andalusia, the island of Mallorca and the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa.

A surge in migrant landings was recorded over the weekend off the Spanish coasts. On Saturday alone, about 198 undocumented migrants of Moroccan and Sub-Saharan origins were intercepted on nine dinghies in the Strait of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea off Almeria. Due to the high number of arrivals, NGOs assisting migrants say that temporary holding centers (CETI) in the Andalusia region are on the verge of collapse. Since the beginning of October, at least 1,000 people have arrived. 


Spanish Guardia Civil divers have recovered a corpse near the Melilla port of a young man of Sub-Saharan origins who drowned after the boat he was traveling in with 17 other people was abandoned at sea by traffickers. Accounts by the survivors, who were rescued, led to the search mission for the victim. 

Migrants abandoned at sea by traffickers 

The migrants were forced to throw themselves into the water off the Melilla pier near the southern dam, which separates the Spanish coast from the Moroccan Beni-Enzar port. There were only two life vests despite the fact that many did not know how to swim, government delegate to Melilla Abdelmalik El Barkani said. 

The prefect, quoted by Spanish media, called the migrant's death ''murder'' due to the traffickers' abandoning of the migrants at sea. The traffickers had left immediately afterwards on a boat towards the Moroccan coast. Barkani said that he suspected this may be a new method used by mafias dealing in human trafficking ''to force the irregular entrance of migrants'' into the Spanish enclave, ''even at the cost of severe risk to human lives''. 

Two of the survivors have been hospitalized in Melilla, while the others have been transferred to a local temporary migrant center. The latest migration waves are mostly undocumented migrants who left from the Algerian coasts. Since the beginning of the year, over 10,000 undocumented migrants have arrived on Spanish coasts. In 2016, fewer than 6,000 had arrived during the entire year. Picture: 
 

More articles