Spain's busiest day as hundreds of migrants head for southern coast

Spain's busiest day as hundreds of migrants head for southern coast
By Euronews
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Spanish coastguards rescue around 600 migrants off the southern coast in their busiest ever day.

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Coastguards have rescued around 600 migrants off Spain’s southern coast in their busiest ever day. They had sailed from Morocco, and the majority are of North African or Sub-Saharan origin.

The number of migrants arriving in Spain looks set to double this year, to 11,000, from a consistent average of 5,000 between 2010 and 2016.

#Spain is on track to overtake #Greece as the second-biggest gateway for #migrants entering #Europe by #sea. https://t.co/RhWJwB4NtT

— adel abdellatif (@abdellatif_adel) August 17, 2017

Improvised vessels

Toy paddle boats and a jet ski were amongst the vessels used by the latest arrivals, who are improvising in order to bypass people smugglers and the associated fees.

Despite this, those rescued in this endeavour counted 35 women and children, including one baby, amongst them.

Italy still main route

Although an increasing number of people are turning to Spain, Italy remains at the frontline of the migrant crisis, with over 100,000 making the voyage from Libya since the start of the year. Of those, 2,242 deaths have been recorded.

The number of migrants using this route dropped by half between June and July this year, a decline that has been attributed to bad weather and increased Libyan coastal patrols.

What next?

The European Union considers many of the African nationals who arrive to be labour migrants rather than refugees, and is consequently reluctant to take them in.

In Italy, where over 600,000 people have arrived in the last four years, public opinion is increasingly hostile towards the migrants.

Aid groups say Italy is forcing them to stop rescuing migrants at sea https://t.co/MWZFnHpCWl#Libya

— Libya BizInfo (@LibyaBizInfo) August 16, 2017

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