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Monday, June 17, 2024
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    Spain possibly locates missing boat carrying 200 migrants, sends help


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    A Spanish reconnaissance plane has located what could potentially be a missing fishing vessel from Senegal, carrying approximately 200 migrants, after being unaccounted for over the past two weeks. The maritime rescue service reported this development on Monday.

    According to a spokesperson for the service, “The plane has spotted a large boat around 71 miles south of Gran Canaria with about 200 people on board. Although it is still uncertain, it is possible that this is the missing vessel.”

    The spokesperson further stated that a rescue ship is currently en route to the identified location but will take approximately two and a half hours to reach its destination.

    A migrant aid group named Walking Borders disclosed on Sunday that the missing fishing vessel, along with two other boats, has been missing since departing from Senegal around two weeks ago. One of the boats was carrying around 65 individuals, while the other had between 50 and 60 people on board, all attempting to reach Spain.

    The Spanish rescue service clarified that only one official alert had been issued for the boat with 200 passengers. However, their plane remains on high alert, actively searching for any distressed vessels in the area.

    Helena Maleno, a representative from Walking Borders, expressed on Monday that families of the estimated 300 migrants across the three boats have not received any new information regarding their whereabouts. The condition of the migrants remains unknown.

    Walking Borders has reached out to authorities in Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, and Spain, urging them to mobilize search efforts for the missing boats. Maleno emphasized the need for additional resources, stating, “A plane that flies for four hours isn’t enough” to effectively conduct such an operation.

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    All three boats embarked on their journey from the village of Kafountine in Senegal’s Cassamance region, known for a long-standing insurgency and located approximately 1,700 km (1,057 miles) away from Spain’s Canary Islands. Maleno pointed out that the Atlantic weather conditions were unfavorable for such a voyage.

    The Atlantic migration route, predominantly used by migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, is considered one of the most perilous in the world. The United Nations’ International Organization for Migration reported at least 559 fatalities in 2022 alone, as individuals attempted to reach the Canary Islands. Information from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex indicates that 1,135 migrants originating from Senegal have arrived in the Canary Islands this year.

    (Reporting by David Latona; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Nick Macfie)

    Credit: The Star : News Feed

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