Five migrants found dead off the coast of the Canaries, 68 rescued by a cruise liner

Five migrants found dead off the coast of the Canaries, 68 rescued by a cruise liner
Five migrants found dead off the coast of the Canaries, 68 rescued by a cruise liner

Five migrants were found dead on Wednesday aboard a boat drifting off the coast of the Canary Islands, while at least 68 others were rescued by a cruise liner, Spanish emergency services announced Thursday.

• Read also: Spain: bodies of four women found aboard a drifting boat

• Read also: Two bodies of migrants found on board a boat off the coast of the Canary Islands

• Read also: Spain: four migrants found dead off the coast of the Canaries

The canoe was spotted Wednesday afternoon by a boat when it was about 800 km south of Tenerife, one of the islands of this Spanish archipelago located near the northwest coast of the African continent, where the number migrant arrivals have been increasing again in recent weeks.

Rescuers then asked a cruise liner, the Insignia, which was nearby, to pick up the survivors, Spanish rescue services said.

This boat, owned by the company Oceania Cruises, based in Miami, and which can accommodate up to 670 passengers, has been on a 180-day trip around the world since January.

Its crew managed to rescue 68 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, including three minors and three women, and retrieve three bodies, but “bad weather” prevented them from recovering the other two bodies.

It was therefore decided to leave the migrant boat there, placing a tracking device on board to allow rescuers to find it later.

The Insignia is expected to arrive in Tenerife on Friday morning.

An Oceania Cruises spokesperson said the 68 migrants were provided with “medical assistance as well as food, drinks, clothing and a safe place to rest” on board.

This new drama illustrates the increase in migrant arrivals in the Canaries recorded in recent weeks.

According to the latest statistics from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior for 2024, 18,977 migrants arrived in the Canaries between January 1 and mid-June on board 290 boats, compared to 5,914 on board 126 boats for the corresponding period of the last year.

By 2023, nearly 40,000 migrants had arrived in the Canaries, more than double the figure recorded the previous year and even more than in 2006, a record year until then for migrant arrivals.

Spain is one of the three main entry points into Europe for illegal immigration, along with Greece and Italy.

Since the start of the year, however, arrivals to Italy by sea have fallen significantly, according to figures from the Italian Interior Ministry, with migrant flows moving towards Spain and Greece.

As far as Spain is concerned, the main route is that of the Canaries, less monitored than that of the Mediterranean.

However, it is an extremely dangerous route due to the currents and the very precarious state of the makeshift boats used by migrants.

Most of the boats arriving in the Canaries come from Senegal, Morocco or Western Sahara.

According to figures from the Spanish migrant aid NGO Caminando Fronteras, more than 5,000 migrants died during the first five months of the year while trying to reach the Spanish coast, most of them by the sea route. Canaries.

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