SPANISH emergency services have picked up nearly 1,000 migrants from the Strait of Gibraltar in just two days.
Dozens of small boats and makeshift rafts carrying 982 migrants were stopped in the 15km-wide stretch of water on Monday and Tuesday this week, according to the Maritime Safety Agency.
On Tuesday alone, 78 boats and rafts – also carrying 95 women and 20 children – crossed the shipping lane, often a focus for migrant efforts to reach Europe.
Authorities have highlighted calm seas and warm weather as possible reasons for the rush over the last 48 hours.
Security boosts at the borders of Spanish enclaves Ceuta and Melilla – the only land borders between Europe and Africa – in the past weeks could also have increased efforts to cross by water.
More than 75,000 people have tried to cross the Mediterranean from Africa so far this year, putting pressure on Spain, Italy, Greece and Malta, with an estimated 800 people dying in the attempt.
Around 10,500 children – the majority separated from their families – are included in the number, as people flee violence in Africa and the Middle East.