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Spain’s Maritime Service Saves 84 Migrants, One Fatality Near Gran Canaria

Spain’s maritime rescue service faced a challenging task on Tuesday as it successfully rescued a boat carrying 84 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa near the perilous waters of Gran Canaria. Tragically, one of the migrants did not survive the perilous journey.

Spain Maritime Service Saves 84 Migrants


The Canary Islands, situated off the coast of West Africa, have emerged as the primary destination for migrants attempting to reach Spain, with a smaller number also striving to cross the treacherous Mediterranean Sea to the Spanish mainland. As summer arrives, the attempts at crossings intensify, making it the busiest period for these dangerous journeys.

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Television footage captured the harrowing scene as Spain emergency services came to the aid of the exhausted migrants, helping them disembark from the vessel. The rescuers offered warm blankets and ensured some of the migrants found comfort in wheelchairs, highlighting the dire conditions they had endured during their journey. Notably, one of the passengers required transportation on a stretcher, indicating the severity of their plight.

Among the migrants rescued, eight individuals, predominantly males, along with one woman, were in need of immediate medical attention. They were swiftly taken to a nearby hospital for urgent care.

Spain migrants 040220 AP

The boat, found approximately 8.5 nautical miles (15.7 km) from Gran Canaria island, reached the Arguineguin port at approximately 5 a.m. local time (0400 GMT), thanks to the timely and valiant efforts of the Spanish maritime rescue team.

The Atlantic migration route, known for its treacherous nature, is notoriously one of the deadliest routes taken by migrants from sub-Saharan Africa attempting to reach Europe via Spain. The hazardous conditions make each attempt to cross a perilous gamble for those seeking a better life.

According to data from the Spanish government, the number of arrivals in the Canary Islands has seen a 31.5% decline between January and mid-July compared to the same period last year. However, it’s important to note that a significant surge occurred during a specific one-month window, between May 15 and June 15, accounting for approximately 41% of the total arrivals.

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Migrants are seen in a dinghy as they are rescued by Libyan coast guards in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, October 18, 2019. Picture taken October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Libyan Coast Guard/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. – RC19B7903B10

Despite the slight decrease in overall arrivals, the incident near Gran Canaria serves as a grim reminder of the ongoing challenges and dangers faced by migrants attempting to reach Spanish shores. It underscores the need for continued efforts to address the root causes of migration and to enhance safe and legal channels for those seeking refuge and better opportunities.

As the Canary Islands continue to witness migratory movements, it remains crucial for international communities and policymakers to collaborate and find lasting solutions to alleviate the suffering and risks faced by these vulnerable individuals during their arduous journeys.