PATERA: Migrants cross the Mediterranean in tiny overcrowded boats

SPAIN’S maritime rescue service rescued 549 migrants crossing the Mediterranean in small boats over the weekend.

On Saturday, officials said they rescued some 350 people travelling on six small patera boats across the Strait of Gibraltar.

While many were celebrating the Three Kings parade on Sunday, a rescue craft intercepted another five boats carrying some 199 migrants.

Among them were two tiny inflatable dinghies – one of which was carrying four children, while the other was packed with 10 adults.

It comes as border agency Frontex, released official figures on Friday revealing that around 150,000 migrants tried to enter the EU in 2018 – a 25% drop from the year before.

Despite an overall decrease in the EU, Spain’s figures have shot up.

In 2018 there were some 57,000 crossings in Spain via the Mediterranean, which doubled 2017’s figures. 

The United Nations calculated that some 2,62 migrants died trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2018.

Frontex added that Moroccans are the most common nationality to cross the western Mediterranean – due to the country’s proximity to southern Spain – followed by Guineans, Malians and Algerians. 

 

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