Morocco’s fleet rescues hundreds of Europe-bound

Hundreds of migrants attempting the treacherous sea crossing from Africa to Europe were in distress when their makeshift boats ran into trouble.

The Moroccan navy has rescued 438 migrants since Thursday, state media reported. Most of the migrants come from sub-Saharan Africa and received first aid before being taken to the nearest Moroccan port, an officer told the state news agency MAP late Monday.

Earlier this month, a merchant ship rescued 33 migrants who had spent two weeks in the Atlantic on their way to the Canary Islands. Fourteen other migrants lost their lives.

Migrant arrivals in the Spanish archipelago have increased since the end of 2019 when increased patrols in the Mediterranean dramatically reduced crossings there.

The shortest sea crossing from the Moroccan coast is about 100 kilometers, but strong currents make it very dangerous.

The vessels used are often overcrowded and in poor condition, which increases the risks.

In the first six months of this year, a total of 2,087 migrants died trying to reach Spain, according to Caminando Fronteras, a Spanish non-governmental organization (NGO) that monitors migrant flows.

Morocco was also the center of attention earlier this year when thousands of migrants tried to force themselves into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.


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