Migrants who landed on Vale do Lobo beach to be housed in temporary centres and later expelled from Portugal
The 22 migrants who arrived in the Algarve by boat from Morocco in the early hours of Monday, detected off the coast of Vale de Lobo, will be transported to temporary settlement centres overnight, the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) said this Tuesday. In a statement, the SEF clarifies that the migrants, all of whom were male, were taken to the Judicial Court of Loulé on Tuesday, “having been subjected to the measures to be housed in a Temporary Installation Centre (CIT), for removal from national territory within the scope of the expulsion process for irregular entry and stay” in Portugal.
The Foreigners and Borders Service adds that the 22 individuals were housed yesterday evening at the CIT Santo António Housing Unit, in Porto, and the EECIT at Faro airport. Contacted by the Lusa news agency, the SEF indicated that questioning was also carried out after the men were set up at the centres. The statement also reveals that all migrants “presented negative results in the tests carried out” for the novel coronavirus, and that “basic needs, including food and medical assistance, were always guaranteed”.
The vessel, allegedly of Moroccan origin, was intercepted on Monday morning when the crew were preparing to land at Vale do Lobo Beach in the Algarve, the commander of the Southern Maritime Zone told press. According to Fernando Rocha Pacheco, the small vessel, a mere seven meters long, was sighted at about 4 am by a local fisherman, who considered the sight suspect because the vessel was “loaded with people”, leading him to warn the authorities. The 22 occupants of the vessel “claim to be Moroccan” and left from the city of El-Jadida, in Morocco, bound for Portugal, the same source added. After the alarm was raised, officials from the Faro Maritime Police and the Quarteira Lifeboat Station began searching by sea and land, detecting and intercepting the vessel at 4:50 am, when the crew “were already preparing to disembark”.
The 22 men were then taken to the Quarteira Lifeboat Station, where clothes were provided and they were tested for COVID-19 by the National Institute of Medical Emergencies (INEM).
This is the second case in a few days involving migrants allegedly of Moroccan origin landing in the Algarve, after last week the authorities detected a vessel with seven men off the coast of Olhão.