• Nearly 7,000 attempted sea journey, rescued by Spanish, Moroccan crews •
Nearly 7,000 undocumented migrants and asylum seekers braving a dangerous journey in flimsy boats and rafts were rescued at sea during 2015 by Spanish or Moroccan emergency rescue crews, with 4,232 of the ‘boat people’ reaching Spain with the assistance of the government’s Salvamento Marítimo (Maritime Rescue) agency and the rest picked up by Morroccan rescue teams and returned to Morocco.
According to figures released by the Spanish Interior Ministry, the rescue of 4,232 migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Spanish soil in often overloaded boats and rafts represent a nearly 25 percent increase over the 3,421 rescued during 2014. The 2015 figures represent the highest number since 2009, when 5,448 people were rescued, but still far short of the record 30,493 rescued in 2006 at the height of a crisis of boat people trying to reach Spain via Morocco.
Most of the migrants and asylum seekers come from sub-Saharan Africa, Algeria, Morrocco and Syria and attempt the risky maritime crossings from Morocco to reach Spain’s Mediterranean coasts or via the even rougher seas of the Atlantic to reach the Canary Islands.