Spanish coast guard rescues 121 migrants in Mediterranean
Madrid, Spain (Xinhua + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Spanish Maritime Rescue Services saved 121 immigrants from an area of the Mediterranean Sea known as the Sea of Alboran on Sunday night, Spanish media reported on Monday.
The immigrants, consisting of 110 men and 11 women, were picked up from four inflatable dinghies.
The operation commenced after a warning to the coast guard that a dinghy containing 31 sub-Saharan immigrants had sailed from the coast of Morocco. This prompted the dispatch of an observation plane and a rescue ship which discovered the dinghy off the Isle of Alboran, roughly midway between Morocco and Spain.
The rescue vessel proceeded to a second dinghy, in northeast of the island, rescuing a further 53 people, before receiving a message from a boat of a further dinghy containing five Moroccans, who were also taken aboard.
The rescue ship returned to the Spanish port of Motril with the 89 people it had rescued on board, while a further 32 immigrants were saved by the Salvamar Hamal ship, also based in Motril.
Calm weather before the arrival of rougher seas in the autumn is one of the main reasons that many are attempting to make the hazardous crossing of the Mediterranean.
It has been estimated by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that the first five months of 2016 saw 2,510 people lose their lives attempting to make the crossing, compared with 1,855 in the first five months of 2015.