• Spanish hospital ship rescues 51 immigrants at sea near Gran Canaria
• Migrants stranded on island off Melilla returned to Moroccan authorities
As NGOs and activists continue to complain about Spain’s slow acceptance of Syrian refugees as part of the agreement worked out with other EU countries, Spanish coast guard and naval forces continue the ongoing rescue of North African and sub-Saharan immigrants and assylum seekers arriving to Spain by boat.
On Sunday, the Spanish hospital boat Esperanza del Mar rescued 51 immigrants aboard a small boat about 12 kilomers southwest of Grand Canary island. The assylum seekers included 43 men, four of whom were believed to be adolescents, as well as 8 women, one of whom was four months pregnant. All were said to be in desperate condition and were treated by the Spanish Red Cross when taken ashore.
At the same time, the steady stream of asylum seekers striving to reach Spain from North Africa and sub-Saharan countries via Spain’s north African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta continues unabated.
On Friday, seven immigrants trying to reach Melilla from Morocco in a small rubber boat were picked up by Spain’s Guardia Civil after having been washed ashore on an uninhabited island some 27 kilometers from Melilla, when the outboard motor failed and sent them adrift. Because the boat’s passengers, all men said to be from Sub-Saharan Africa, had not reached Spanish territory they were returned to Morocco and handed over to authorities.