BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spanish rescue ships saved 73 migrants, including one pregnant woman, from five different smuggling boats trying to cross the sea from Africa to Europe during the previous 24 hours.
The pregnant woman and 25 other migrants were aboard a vessel that was taking on water in the Atlantic Ocean when reached by the rescue boat Salvamar Gadir before daybreak Friday.
They were found 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of the Atlantic coastal town of Barbate, which lies between Cadiz and Gibraltar. Emergency services for Spain’s Andalucia region said the 20 men and six women were all of North African descent.
Another four boats carrying migrants who told Spanish authorities they were from Algeria were intercepted in the Mediterranean Sea.
The civil guard based on the island of Mallorca said their ships had found two boats with 14 men each both on Thursday and Friday. Closer to the mainland, civil guard boats patrolling near Cartagena intercepted another two boats – one on Thursday with 11 men, a second craft on Friday with eight more men.
All the migrants were in good health, according to authorities.
Tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries, try to reach the shores of Spain and Italy by boat each year.
On Wednesday, a 10-year-old girl and two adults died when their boat capsized while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Spain.