Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, Oct 12 (EFE).- Spanish rescue services on Thursday rescued 648 people trying to reach the Canary Islands.
October has seen a sharp rise in the number of irregular immigrants trying to make the treacherous journey from Africa to the Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.
Spanish Maritime Rescue sources told EFE that the migrants, which included minors, were traveling in seven precarious boats that were sighted by passenger and merchant ships, before they were rescued and taken to various ports in the Canary Islands.
More than 5,000 immigrants have arrived irregularly from the African coast to the Canary Islands in October, the highest figure in the islands since 2006.
Over 20,000 migrants have made the perilous journey so far this year, as assistance services struggle to provide care for so many people. Many have been transferred to other Spanish regions.
The acting Spanish Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, accompanied by the Vice President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, visited Mauritania on Wednesday to strengthen cooperation on migration issues to prevent the departure of migrants to the Canary Islands.
On Monday he plans to travel to Senegal, another departure point for boats on the migratory route from the African continent to the Canary Islands, considered one of the most dangerous in the world. EFE