Spain sees record number of migrant arrivals in 2017

Spanish beach

Spanish beach

On Wednesday, there also surfaced a video of a boatload of migrants arriving at Los Alemanes beach on the Spanish coastline, some 19 miles from the African coast.

So far in 2017, 8,385 people have reached the country by sea, more than triple the number seen at the same time in 2016.

While the figure pales in comparison with Italy - where more than 96,400 migrants have landed so far this year - Spain is catching up with Greece where 11,713 alighted from boats in the same timeframe.

IOM spokesman Joel Millman said he believes that migrants taking the long route towards Italy via the Sahara and Libya - many of whom are from West Africa - are now choosing to take the "safer" coastal route through Morocco.

With the migrant route through Turkey and into Greece effectively closed, refugees are trying to reach Europe either from Libyan shores or now, increasingly, from...

According to the EU's Frontex border agency, 7,500 immigrants made the crossing to Spain in the first three months of the year, compared with 3,600 in the same period last year.

"If so, that's a big change".

African migrants are seeking a cheaper and risky path to Europe with a rising number setting sail for Spain from Morocco using toy dinghies and jetskis, migration experts say.

This is a different tactic to many migrants arriving from Libya, who are often packed onto leaky, overloaded boats, with the intention of summoning aid as quickly as possible.

"Whereas in Spain, the strategy is smaller craft hoping to come in undetected, and undoubtedly some do".

More than 1,600 people have been rescued off the coast of Cádiz since January.

The number of sea arrivals, however, doesn't take into account those coming into Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish territories in northern Morocco, by land.

On Tuesday, Spanish police found 30 Moroccan and Algerian migrants, ten of which were children, hidden in fairground vehicles in the enclave city.

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