Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Nearly 900 migrants rescued by Moroccan navy, one drowned

Nearly 900 migrants rescued by Moroccan navy, one drowned
Migrants arrive on board a Spain's maritime rescue boat at the port of Tarif   -  
Copyright © africanews
Marcos Moreno/Marcos Moreno


Over the past few days, the Moroccan navy has rescued almost 900 illegal migrants, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa, including 400 in territorial waters, according to a military source, while attempts to cross to Spain have multiplied.

During the rescue operations, one body was fished out of the water, the Moroccan source said on Tuesday.

"During the period from 10 to 17 July, Royal Navy units rescued 845 would-be irregular migrants of various nationalities, the majority of whom were Sub-Saharan Africans. Nearly 400 people were rescued in waters under national jurisdiction in the south of the Kingdom," the source said.

According to the same source, the would-be migrants took to the sea in makeshift boats, kayaks, pirogues, jet skis, and even swam.

Those rescued were assisted on board naval vessels before being brought ashore for identification.

Since the tightening of controls in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands' migratory route, the gateway to Europe in the Atlantic Ocean, has seen a marked increase in activity from the coasts of northwest Africa.

Other crossing attempts, just as perilous, are being made from the coasts of Morocco and the Western Sahara.

NGOs regularly report fatal shipwrecks -- whose unofficial death toll they put at dozens if not hundreds -- in Moroccan, Spanish, or international waters.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the Alarmphone aid network said that 24 people had died when their boat, carrying 61 people, capsized off Western Sahara two days ago.

This information has not been confirmed on the Moroccan side.

The Moroccan authorities claim to have foiled 26,000 attempts at illegal emigration during the first five months of 2023. In 2022, some 71,000 attempts were aborted, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

View more