Morocco's navy says it has recently rescued hundreds of migrants on their way to Europe. Attempted sea crossings in the Mediterranean and Atlantic continue to increase.
The Moroccan navy said it rescued more than 400 migrants between Thursday (August 19) and Monday (August 23) after their makeshift boats ran into trouble on the sea crossing to Europe, Morroco's state media (MAP) reported.
The 438 migrants, were given first aid before being transferred to the nearest Moroccan port, an officer told MAP.
MAP also reported that Moroccan authorities intercepted an additional number of 58 migrants, including 11 women, off Laayoune shores in Western Sahara on Sunday, August 22.
The migrants, the majority of whom came from sub-Saharan Africa, had attempted to reach the Canary Islands, according to MAP.
Earlier this month, a merchant ship rescued 33 migrants who had spent two weeks adrift in the Atlantic Ocean en route for the Canary Islands.
Treacherous sea crossings claim thousands of lives
Migrants and asylum seekers are increasingly crossing a treacherous part of the Atlantic Ocean to reach the Canary Islands, in what has become one of the most dangerous routes to continental Europe.
In 2020, The number of undocumented migrants arriving in Spain’s Canary Islands saw an eight-fold increase compared to the previous year, based on the data released by the UN refugee agency.
At its shortest, the sea crossing from the Moroccan coast is around 100 kilometers, but strong currents make it very dangerous.
The vessels used are often overcrowded and in poor condition, adding to the risks.
In the first six months of this year, about 2,087 migrants died trying to reach Spain, according to a report by Caminando Fronteras, a Spanish NGO that monitors migrant flows.