Good weather sees the arrival of more boats with 375 people in just three days
There was a big decrease in the arrival of boats from Africa during the first two weeks of the year, as the bad weather made crossing the Atlantic in these basic pateras, not only very difficult, but impossible. However, the return of the good weather has brought the return of the boats.
In the last three days 375 mostly sub-Saharan irregular migrants have arrived in the Canary Islands, including 33 minors, two of whom died in El Hierro, one on the dock just after arriving, and another yesterday in hospital.
During the day yesterday, four boats were intercepted on their way to Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife with 204 immigrants on board, including 12 women and 26 minors. During the early morning, two boats with 57 people on board were located near Lanzarote. Marítime Rescue helped a patera in which 29 people were travelling, including two women and three minors, and transferred them to Arrecife, while the second entered La Santa (Tinajo), with 28 immigrants on board, among them five minors.
In both cases, they told the emergency services that treated them at the dock, that they had left the coast of Safi in Morocco, which is a town located approximately 530 kilometres northeast of Lanzarote, and that they had been at sea for between four and five days.
Also early yesterday morning two other vessels were spotted south of Gran Canaria, which were assisted by the Guardamar Talía rescue boat. In one of them were 36 sub-Saharan Africans (including three women and three minors), while the second was occupied by 63 people, of which seven are women and six minors.
A fifth boat was located just five miles south of Tenerife and entered the Los Cristianos port by its own means with 48 sub-Saharan immigrants on board, nine of them minors. Five of them had to be transferred to health centres to be treated for dehydration and hypothermia.
In addition, on Tuesday another three boats with a hundred immigrants reached the islands. One arrived in Lanzarote with 28 Maghrebis on board, while another with 21 Maghreb men also arrived on the north coast of the island.
A third boat, with 53 people 45 male adults and 8 minors (four male and four female), arrived at La Restinga in El Hierro. One of these people died on the pier itself while another died yesterday in hospital after being admitted in critical condition, and two others remain hospitalized, as confirmed by the Ministry of Health.
With this death yesterday, ten people have already lost their lives so far this year trying to reach the Canary coast in boats. Of them, four died on a boat that arrived in the south of Tenerife, while last week a nine-year-old boy died during the crossing and his body was thrown overboard whilst out at sea, according to his 12 year old sister who told health workers of the ordeal at the pier in Arguineguín.
On the other hand, more than 140 people, almost all of them from different sub-Saharan countries, were arrested in the last few days by the Mauritanian Gendarmerie, when they were preparing to leave in different boats to reach the Canary Islands. According to the EFE news agency, Mauritanian police sources confirmed that the arrests took place in the capital, Nouakchott, in different operations to dismantle various illegal emigration networks. The members of these networks had abundant logistical material and provisions for the long journey of several days in their possession.