Migrants rescued by members of the Civil Guard Special unit of subaquatic activities (GEAS) in Ceuta, Spain
Migrants rescued by members of the Civil Guard Special unit of subaquatic activities (GEAS) in Ceuta, Spain

The number of migrants arriving in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta by sea had quadrupled in the first four months of the year. This is in respect to the same period in 2017 due to tighter controls at the land border with Morocco, Spanish authorities have said.

 The number of migrants arriving in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta by sea had quadrupled in the first four months of the year with respect to the same period in 2017 due to tighter controls at the land border with Morocco, Spanish authorities have said. In total there have been 233 sea arrivals on five boats so far this year, compared to 51 the period January-April 2017. Of these, 100 were Moroccan and 133 from sub-Saharan African countries, especially Guinea Conakry.


 The Moroccan group included two women and two children, while the sub-Saharan African group included seven women and three children of whom one six-month-old baby. Migrants not deterred by bad weather conditions The fierce storms and difficult sailing conditions registered since the start of the year have not discouraged migrants from attempting to cross the waters to Ceuta. The increase in sea arrivals is directly associated with the tightening of land border controls by Morocco. Consequently, the local authorities believe the numbers are likely to increase still further with the onset of fair weather.

 Dramatic landings 

The most dramatic landing took place on April 11, when local police dove into the sea to rescue eight migrants after their boat capsized. Many attempt the short but risky sea crossing to avoid police checks at the Tarajal border post, where minors from the Tetouan region of Morocco attempt to cross by hiding in lorries or cars. 
 

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