Five boats carrying 72 migrants independently reached Mallorca and neighboring islands on Wednesday. The arrival of migrant boats on Spain's Balearic Islands is rare, but numbers have increased in recent years.
The five boats all arrived on the Spanish islands within a few hours on Wednesday morning (November 9), according to local authorities. All 72 passengers were said to be in good health.
The first two boats were located at about 3 am near the small island of Cabrera, around five kilometers off Mallorca’s southern coast, according to news agency dpa.
Another boat arrived shortly afterwards on the island of Ibiza; a fourth one arrived around 6 am at the port of Colònia de Sant Jordi in Mallorca’s south, and the fifth one arrived shortly after at Cabrera – it was the biggest one, carrying 23 people.
Uncommon migrant route
The route from North Africa to the Balearic Islands is not a common migration route. In distance, the Italian islands Lampedusa and Sicily, as well as Malta, are closer to common departure points of migrants who are headed to Europe from North African coasts (usually from Libya and Tunisia).
However, the numbers of migrants reaching the Baleares have increased in recent years, figures show. In 2021, a new record was set with 2,404. In comparison, only 507 migrants arrived in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. A total of 147 boats with 2,129 migrants have arrived on the island group between January and October this year.
So far this year, 124,497 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea, according to the UN. 1,891 are said to have died or gone missing, according to IOM's Missing Migrants Project.