A canoe carrying 86 people was rescued this Monday, July 10, by the Spanish authorities some 132 kilometers south of the Atlantic island of Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands. Three other boats that left Senegal, including one with 200 migrants on board, remain missing.
A boat with 86 migrants on board from sub-Saharan countries, including 80 men and 6 women, was rescued off the Canary Islands on Monday, July 10, as confirmed by a Maritime Rescue spokeswoman. Spanish emergency services took the people to the island of Gran Canaria, one of the capitals of the archipelago. According to preliminary reports, they would be in good health.
Initially, this boat was confused with another ship that was carrying around 200 people and has been missing for almost two weeks. But the Spanish Maritime Rescue service finally said that she was another ship.
Regarding the missing vessel, according to the NGO Caminando Fronteras, the ship left Senegal on June 27, some 1,700 kilometers from the Canary Islands, with some 200 people on board.
“The families informed us of the disappearance of the boat, of which they had not heard for several days, (…) we alerted the Spanish and Moroccan rescue services,” said the founder of the NGO, Helena Maleno.
A canoe that left Senegal with almost two hundred people, many of them children, has been missing in the Atlantic for ten days. It will be a catastrophe if they are not found soon.
— Helena Maleno Garzón (@HelenaMaleno) July 7, 2023
“The families are very worried. There are about 300 people from the same region of Senegal. They left because of the instability in Senegal,” he added.
According to the NGO, two other boats, which left Senegal on June 23 and have a total of 120 passengers on board, are missing.
Recent uptick in migrant arrivals
The arrivals of migrants in precarious boats decreased by 4.17% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. However, in recent weeks, several large canoes have arrived in the Canary Islands and numerous boat departures have been reported. from Senegal.
In April 2022, an agreement between Rabat and Madrid entered into force after three years of diplomatic crisis regarding the status of Western Sahara. Since then, the borders of the two Spanish enclaves on African soil, Ceuta and Melilla, have been more closely watched.
The Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago off the Moroccan coast, is a popular destination for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. However, the migratory route to get there is considered one of the most dangerous between the African continent and Europe.
According to Caminando Fronteras, at least 1,784 people died on this route in 2022 alone. In addition, the organization states that in the first half of 2023, 951 deaths were recorded on the Euro-African Western border, an average of five people per day.
With EFE, Reuters and local media