A ship of Maritime Rescue enters the bay of Tarifa (Cádiz) with a group of presumed immigrants who were rescued near the coasts of southern Spain, on August 11, 2014
Nearly „a score“ of migrants of sub-Saharan origin were found dead in waters near the Spanish enclave of Melilla, on the northern coast of Morocco, reported Sunday the Delegation of the Government of Spain in that city.
A ship that sailed from Melilla on Saturday afternoon „sighted four or five miles of navigation to about twenty bodies floating in the sea,“ said a spokeswoman for the delegation.
The ship „Sorolla“ alerted the Spanish and Moroccan authorities, who activated their rescue equipment in the area.
Due to „the currents and state of the sea“ the rescue teams tracked „a large area“ in a „device that stretches into the night,“ the spokeswoman explained.
As it was Moroccan territorial waters, the bodies were taken to that country. Morocco has not offered for the moment a balance of the deceased.
When they returned to Melilla the units of the Special Group of Underwater Activities (Geas), they saw another body, that of a man, which was recovered and taken to the Spanish enclave.
In 2017, Spain consolidated itself as the third entry point for clandestine immigrants by sea in Europe, especially through the Mediterranean, in precarious vessels.
These arrivals almost tripled to 21,663 (8,162 in 2016), according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which accounted for 223 deaths last year (128 in 2016). This route was reinforced by the danger of the situation further east, in Libya.
In January of this year, the IOM recorded 1,279 arrivals in Spain along the Mediterranean route and 28 dead or missing in the voyages without counting the last drama.
Seven African immigrants died on January 15 when they tried to reach the island of Lanzarote, in the archipelago of the Canary Islands, in a precarious boat from which they were rescued another twenty people.
The route to the Canary Islands, 100 km away from the African coasts in the Atlantic Ocean, has been less used in recent years, after having been one of the main entries of illegal immigration into the Union in the mid-2000s. European (EU).