Spanish coastguard rescues 86 refugees from boat south of Gran Canaria

by Lorraine Williamson
migrants in Spain

The Spanish coastguard rescued eighty men and six women from a small boat on Monday. These are refugees from sub-Saharan Africa. The boat was located 132 kilometers south of Gran Canaria in the afternoon. 

The refugees are currently safely aboard a Spanish Coast Guard lifeboat. They are expected to arrive at the port of Arguineguín (Gran Canaria) by 8.00 pm on Monday evening. 

The same refugee boat that went missing since June 27? 

This happened at the same time as an air search for a similar boat with more than two hundred people on board, which has been missing since June 27. There was briefly doubt whether it would not concern the two hundred missing migrants. But after further investigation this turned out not to be the case and the search for the other boat is still continuing. 

In recent weeks, several narrow boats with up to 159 occupants have arrived in the ports of El Hierro, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. The authorities involved also reported dozens of boat departures from Senegal, which sometimes sail in large groups at the same time towards the Canary Islands. 

Some of these have been intercepted in Mauritania and others are still being sought, such as the boat with around 200 people on board that departed on June 27 from Kanfountine, about 1,700 kilometers from Tenerife. The same day all contact with this boat disappeared. 

Cogesa Expats

Also read: Spanish government under pressure over 23 migrants who died near Melilla

Every 4.5 hours a refugee dies while crossing to Spain 

On Thursday, July 6, the organisation Caminando Fronteras presented their report Right to Life. It has been calculated that in the first half of 2023 at least 951 refugees died during their crossing from African countries to Spain. Moreover, that means one migrant dies every 4.5 hours. 

According to the organisation, the ‘deadly factor’ of this route across the Atlantic Ocean is increasing every year. The organisation believes that countries are failing in their rescue duties, are slowing down in organising relief efforts, have insufficient resources when refugees need to be rescued and lack coordination between Spanish and Moroccan organisations when rescue actions are necessary. 

Also read: First quarter half fewer migrants arrive illegally in Spain than last year


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