Home News Eight young Moroccan migrants land on Monte Gordo beach “cold and hungry”

Eight young Moroccan migrants land on Monte Gordo beach “cold and hungry”

Published on 11/12/2019

This Wednesday morning eight young men arrived on a boat at Monte Gordo beach in the Algarve, according to Maritime Police. Commander Fernando Pereira da Fonseca revealed that all of the eight migrants are between 16 and 20 years old, and claim that they are Moroccan. They were initially taken to the local Maritime Police command Vila Real de Santo António, where they were “fed and treated because they were cold and hungry”. Later, they left the captaincy of the port of Vila Real de Santo António and are now in the custody of the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF).

The Maritime Police revealed in a statement that they had been alerted of the eight migrants’ presence at the Monte Gorde beach at 10:10 am, while carrying out an on-site surveillance action. More maritime police teams were then mobilized “by sea and land”.

The eight men say that they had spent five days at sea and “showed symptoms of hypothermia.” They were detained on suspicion of illegal immigration. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) is following the situation.

After the migrants were detained, the SEF was called in to carry out an investigation. The Vila Real de Santo António GNR were also mobilised to the area and, when they arrived, the eight migrants were already accompanied by the Maritime Police.

Rui Vasconcelos de Andrade, the captain of the port of Vila Real de Santo António, told reporters that the individuals “appeared to be in a normal, quiet, and careless state, and were transported to the local Vila Real Maritime Police Command for identification”. Food and clothing were provided, with the support of the City Council.

The captain also said that, as far as was clear, the youths “allegedly did not want to go to Portugal and wanted to reach the southern coast of Spain”. The SEF is trying to confirm their nationality and has already made attempts to contact family members, having received copies of some of the identification documents that align with their claims that they came from Morocco.

The closest SEF facilities to Vila Real de Santo António are at the Castro Marim border crossing between Portugal and Spain, next to the Guadiana International Bridge. The Maritime Police and SEF will now do their best to confirm the information provided by the young people, who arrived in Portugal via a small vessel about seven meters long. The commander of the Maritime Police said that this is not the first case in Portugal and that there have been other similar cases in the past.