Boats carrying 152 African migrants caught entering Spain

17th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spanish coastguard vessels intercepted eight boats packed with 152 African migrants as they tried to enter Spain overnight, local officials said Friday.

The maritime rescue service picked up 37 would be immigrants from sub-Saharan African late Thursday in a small boat spotted off the coast of Motril in southern Spain, the regional government of Granada said.

All 37 were in good health, it added.

A separate operation picked up another seven boats carrying 115 Algerian migrants off the coast of the southeastern region of Murcia, the regional government said.

One man on board was taken to hospital due to health problems he developed while on the attempted crossing to Spain, it said in a statement.

Spain is a key entry point for illegal immigration from Africa, but officials here fear many of the thousands of Africans who attempt the perilous journey by boat to Spanish soil die each year of thirst, hunger or exposure.

They have no way however, of knowing the exact numbers.

The mass arrivals of boats carrying migrants has become rarer in recent years thanks to repatriation agreements Madrid has signed with the African countries that are a major source of migrants.

The country has also worked with other European nations to boost maritime surveillance.

© 2010 AFP

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