On Tuesday, the Moroccan navy intercepted 190 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa aboard makeshift boats between the coasts of Tan Tan in southern Morocco and Dakhla in Western Sahara, according to a military source.
"Units of the Royal Navy and elements in charge of coastal surveillance intercepted, on Tuesday, in the southern territorial waters between Tan Tan and Dakhla, makeshift boats with a total of 190 candidates for irregular migration on board, including 11 women, all sub-Saharan," the military source told the MAP agency.
The migrants intercepted "were transported safely to the nearest national ports, after receiving the necessary care, before being handed over to the Royal Gendarmerie for the usual administrative procedures", it added.
This operation brings to at least 518 the number of would-be irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa brought to Moroccan shores since August 8, according to an AFP report based on Moroccan military sources.
The Canary Islands migration route, a gateway to Europe in the Atlantic Ocean, has seen a surge in activity in recent weeks, particularly from the coasts of Morocco and the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
Moroccan authorities claim to have foiled 26,000 attempts at irregular emigration in the first five months of 2023.
NGOs regularly report fatal shipwrecks in Moroccan, Spanish and international waters, with unofficial figures numbering dozens, if not hundreds, of deaths.