MADRID (AP) — Spain’s maritime rescue service says it has saved 56 migrants trying to make the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea from Africa to European shores.
The service says two boats were intercepted by its search craft Saturday morning. One boat was carrying 23 men in the Strait of Gibraltar. A second boat with 33 men of sub-Saharan origin was located east of the Strait near Alboran Island.
Europe’s border watchdog said Friday that 22,880 migrants had arrived in Spain last year by sea, up from 10,231 in 2016. It also warned it expects the number of migrants using the western Mediterranean route to Europe to increase this year.
The International Organization for Migration says 2,583 migrants entered Europe by sea this year through Wednesday, and 199 others died en route.