Morocco navy rescues over 300 migrants bound for Europe

By: AFP      Published: 10:19 PM, 15 Jul, 2021
Morocco navy rescues over 300 migrants bound for Europe

Morocco's navy has rescued 344 migrants, including women and children, after their makeshift boats ran into difficulty in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, the MAP news agency reported Thursday.

It said the migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, were rescued between last Saturday and Wednesday.

"They were given first aid on board units of the Royal Navy, before being transported to the nearest ports in the kingdom and handed over to the Royal Gendarmerie," MAP said, citing a military source.

The flow of migrants towards Europe has not eased, despite stronger measures linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Migrants try to reach the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta in Morocco, or the Spanish mainland, while in the Atlantic Ocean they make for Spain's Canary Islands.

Last month, as many as 10,000 migrants surged into Ceuta as Moroccan border guards looked the other way, at a time of diplomatic tensions between Rabat and Madrid.

At the beginning of July, the navy said it picked up 244 people in the Mediterranean and Atlantic in just two days.

Nearly 2,100 migrants died trying to reach Spain by sea during the first six months of 2021, roughly the same number as during all of last year, a migrant rights group said on July 7.

Spanish interior ministry figures show that between January 1 and June 30, a total of 12,622 migrants arrived in Spain by sea, compared with 7,256 a year earlier.