Costa del Sol, Spain. A number of migrants from Africa were picked up off the Spanish mediterranean coast during the pre dawn hours Saturday. Because Spain is part of the EU, migrants are constantly trying to make landfall there and start a new life with benefits unheard of in their native lands.
The numbers last night total 125 migrants trying to make the night-time crossing from Africa to Spain have been rescued. Three small boats carrying the migrants were located before daybreak on Saturday.
The first vessel, carrying 41 men and 11 women of sub-Saharan origin, was located by rescue teams shortly after midnight in the Alboran Sea east of the Strait of Gibraltar. The Red Cross said all were in good health.
A second group of 62 North African males, including 11 minors, was packed into a wooden boat when it was rescued just west of the Strait in the Atlantic Ocean.
According to figures announced by the Spanish interior ministry this week in response to a written parliamentary question, the number of people detained while attempting to enter the country illegally in 2014-the last year statistics were available, was 12,549, a large increase on the 2013 figure of 7,472.
The figure has gone up after thousands made bids to enter European territory via the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the north African coast. Eleven more migrants of unknown origin were pulled from a small vessel in the Mediterranean Sea after a Nato aircraft alerted the Spanish maritime rescue service.
While the battles between sub-Saharan immigrants attempting to scale the six-meter fences around Ceuta and Melilla and Spanish border police continue on an almost daily basis, the number of immigrants entering the enclaves with false documents was even higher last year.
Tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries, try to reach the shores of Spain and Italy by boat each year. Because of its location in the Iberian Peninsula, the Canary islands and two exclaves in Northern Africa, the territory comprising modern Spain has always been at the crossroads of human migration, having harboured many waves of historical immigration.
The Spanish Empire, one of the first global empires and one of the largest in the world, spanned all inhabited continents and throughout the years people from these lands emigrated to Spain in varying numbers
Between Thursday and Friday, 73 migrants were rescued from five boats by Spanish ships. Just this past Wednesday, a 10-year-old girl and two adults died when their boat capsized while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Spain.