MADRID (AP) – Spain’s maritime rescue service says it has saved over 440 migrants attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa.
The service says it pulled 447 people from 15 small boats intercepted by its rescue craft on Saturday. Except for one dinghy carrying 12 people found near the island of Mallorca, the rest were rescued off Spain’s southern coast.
Nearly 300 migrants have died in waters separating Spain and Africa so far in 2018, according to the United Nations, and over 1,600 have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean.
A recent spike in migrant arrivals in Spain has strained public services, and the Spanish government has faced further pressure since Italy refused to let humanitarian boats dock with migrants they have rescued from the sea.