Spanish authorities rescue more than 400 people along the Canary Islands

More than 400 migrants were rescued this Monday from a dozen boats along the Spanish Canary Islands, after 147 African and Asian people were rescued from the sea, off the coast of Morocco, in the last 24 hours.

According to information from the archipelago’s relief services, at least nine rescued are minors, out of the 420 migrants found in boats similar to small fishing grounds.

Those rescued are of sub-Saharan and North African origins, the authorities said.

In the last week, at least 13 migrants died trying to reach the Canary Islands by sea, where in the first 11 months of the year 16,827 people arrived on its coast illegally, corresponding to 44% more than in the same period in 2020.

Between Sunday and today, the Moroccan Navy also rescued 147 African and Asian migrants in difficulty aboard makeshift boats off the coast of Morocco, according to the Moroccan news agency MAP.

Coming from sub-Saharan Africa and “from 10 unspecified countries” in Asia, the rescued crew received first aid “before being transported to the nearest ports”, where they would be subject to “administrative procedures”, a military source said, without specifying where the rescue operations took place.

Departures from the Moroccan coast towards Europe, in particular the Canary Islands, have recently increased, via maritime routes in the Atlantic or the Mediterranean, despite the tightening of controls.

Between November 12 and 15, the Moroccan coast guard had provided assistance to about 330 migrants in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, according to a military source.

At least four Moroccan migrants trying to reach Europe, including two women, died at sea and their bodies were found on November 12 near Rabat (Morocco).

MAP said on Sunday that 117 migrants were detained by authorities in Laayoune, Western Sahara, and Tarfaya, further north.

In total, 32,713 migrants arrived in Spain by sea between January and October, 24.2% more than in the same period in 2020, according to data from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.

According to end-September estimates by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2021 was the deadliest year on the migration route to Spain, with at least 1,025 dead.

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