Migrants Reaching Spain by Sea Up 120 Percent

African Migrants Spain, Spanish Navy
SERGIO CAMACHO/AFP/Getty

(AP) — The Spanish government reports that the number of migrants reaching the country by sea is up more than 120 percent this year as the so-called Western Mediterranean route gained recognition as an alternative way to Europe.

Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service said it pulled 373 migrants from seven boats attempting to cross the Mediterranean on Friday.

Spanish authorities say the rescues occurred in the Strait of Gibraltar — the shortest route between the African and European continents in the western Mediterranean — and near Alboran Island, which lies about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the Moroccan coast.

The Spanish Interior Ministry says 14,446 migrants reached Spain during the first six months of 2018. Almost 6,300 of them arrived in June, when the weather was fair and seas were calm.

.