Eighteen die at sea as immigration crisis mounts

15th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

15 March 2006, MADRID — Eighteen would-be immigrants died at sea trying to reach the Canary Islands as the Spanish government held an emergency cabinet meeting over the rising tide of African arrivals.

15 March 2006

MADRID — Eighteen would-be immigrants died at sea trying to reach the Canary Islands as the Spanish government held an emergency cabinet meeting over the rising tide of African arrivals.

The bodies of the immigrants were found in the sea off the coast of Mauritania apparently en route to the Canary Islands on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Spain offered help to the Mauritanian government in setting up camps to repatriate some of the would-be immigrants who reach the Canary Islands and to patrol the waters off the west African coast.

More than 400 African immigrants reached Spanish territory the day before after crossing the waters of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, authorities said.

In the Canary Islands, authorities said the archipelago received the largest wave of immigrants in its history when 331 migrants arrived there aboard nine vessels.

Immigrant internment centres have been filled to - or beyond - capacity since the weekend by other arrivals.

In Almería, in south-eastern mainland Spain, another 86 Africans travelling in three boats toward the coast were intercepted.

The Civil Guard - Spain's militarized police – also said it stopped  86 people in three boats approaching the coast of the south-eastern region of Andalusia.

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea at the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic waters between the Canaries and Africa for years have been the routes used by hundreds of Africans risking their lives to reach Spain, where they either find work or remain temporarily before moving on to other European countries to find jobs.

To make the dangerous sea voyage, which has killed unknown numbers of Africans, they pay immigrant smugglers thousands of euros to take them to Spanish territory in fragile and often overloaded boats.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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