Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service said Saturday its coast guard rescued 334 migrants from 17 dinghies in the Strait of Gibraltar and the Alboran sea.
The migrants were sheltered in a temporary warehouse facility in the southern port town of Barbate set up by authorities faced with a lack of short-stay immigration centres.
Migration to Spain has been increasing steadily for more than a year. Arrivals by sea have risen dramatically in recent weeks with the arrival of warmer weather, straining services in the southern region of Andalusia.
While overall numbers of migrants reaching Europe are way down from the peak in 2015, Spain has seen 17,000 arrivals this year. The figure is twice the number at the same point in 2017, according to interior ministry figures.
Debate over migration has flared in Spain after Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez took office in June and shortly thereafter agreed to receive more than 600 migrants aboard a charity ship rejected by Italy and Malta.
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