Twelve migrants have died trying to reach the shores of southern Spain in a precarious boat and twelve are missing while about thirty have been found alive, the Spanish Coast Guard and Red Cross announced on Thursday.
After a report from a military ship, eleven nautical miles south of Sabinal lighthouse near Almeria, the coast guard intervened, finding “eleven people dead and 33 aboard alive”, all from sub-Saharan Africa, said a Coast Guard spokesman.
The boat was sought after in the Alboran Sea, between Andalusia and northern Morocco. The migrants were brought back to the port of Almería around 4:45 am on Thursday morning and one of them died later, according to Agence France-Presse. This brings to 12 the number of dead, ten men and two women, one of whom was pregnant, who add to twelve people still missing, a Red Cross representative in Almeria told the media. Three other boats were searched in the area, each of which had between 50 and 55 migrants on board
Over the summer Spain has become the main gateway for illegal migrants arriving into Europe, surpassing the numbers arriving in Greece and Italy. According to the latest figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), updated on December 16, more than 55,000 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea since January 1 and 744 have died in the crossing, more than three times more than in 2017.
Arrivals by sea in Spain account for half of the total in Europe (about 111,000 according to IOM). The most dangerous route remains that of the central Mediterranean with 1,306 deaths off the coast of Italy since the beginning of the year. A total of 2,217 people died or disappeared this year while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, according to the IOM.