Alarm bells are ringing in Spain after the discovery of 18 bodies of African migrants.
Madrid is already struggling to contain a daily flow of would-be immigrants, and the latest bid appears to have come from a new smuggling route.
It is reported that Mauritania was used as a staging ground for the attempt to reach Europe, perhaps because of a crackdown on more established routes through Morocco.
The bodies were recovered south of the Canary Islands by a hospital ship. They had first been spotted by a fishing vessel.
The Spanish government has held a crisis meeting and said it would step up sea patrols and support Mauritania’s naval forces.
On Tuesday more than three hundred migrants arrived in the Canaries, the highest number recorded for a single day.
The Red Cross estimates that more than a thousand people have died this year attempting treacherous crossings in rickety boats.