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267 migrants rescued from 28 boats in the Strait of Gibraltar

Source: El Pais - Mon 11th Aug 2014
267 migrants rescued from 28 boats in the Strait of Gibraltar

The Spanish coastguard rescued 267 people from 29 small boats in the Straits of Gibraltar on Monday. All the men, women and children onboard were found to be in apparent good health and taken to Tarifa, in Cádiz province, to be treated.

The good weather in the Straits of Gibraltar over recent days has led to a rise in the number of immigrants trying to enter Spain illegally by sea in small inflatable dinghies. In the last 24 hours, nearly 300 migrants have managed to reach Spanish shores.

According to Spanish Maritime Rescue, 2 of its ships intercepted eight small boats trying to cross the Strait with 84 people aboard in the early hours of Monday morning. Later 2 other ships and a Civil Guard patrol boat rescued 15 other small vessels. In the afternoon 5 more boats carrying migrants were intercepted.

Two other coastguard ships and a helicopter, plus Civil Guard patrol boats, remain in the area trying to intercept several other immigrant vessels adrift off the Spanish coast. It is not known how many people the other boats contain.

On Sunday 2 other boats carrying 27 sub-Saharans were intercepted when they were trying to reach the coasts of Algeciras and Tarifa in Cádiz province. The first was an inflatable dinghy with 10 people aboard, including a pregnant woman. Doctors found her to be in a good health and decided to move her to Algeciras police premises along with the rest of the boat's passengers.

The 15 men and two women aboard the second inflatable dinghy were also found to be in reasonable health when Spanish Maritime Rescue discovered them 7 nautical miles off the coast of Tarifa at 11.30am on Sunday. Some of them showed light symptoms of hypothermia, but these were relieved after they received hot food, a Red Cross spokesman said.

Three rafts carrying 16 people, including four minors, have also reached beaches at Torrevieja and Pilar de Horadada in Alicante in recent days. The migrants said they were of Moroccan, Algerian and Palestinian origin.

On Saturday Maritime Rescue picked up 22 men of North African origin discovered in a small boat 13 nautical miles east of Mojácar, Almería. One of them was a 17-year-old who had to be taken by helicopter to receive treatment for diabetes in Almería.

Hours later, Maritime Rescue had to rescue 19 more people after the small boat in which they were travelling sank 70 nautical miles off the coast of Granada. The migrants, who included 3 children and 6 women, 3 of whom were pregnant, were taken to Motril.

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