A PASSENGER boat off the coast of Spain was forced to turn around after sailing by tens of migrant bodies floating in the water on Saturday.
Authorities in Spain and Morocco launched a search-and-rescue operation for Saturday and Sunday after recovering at least 20 African migrants near the coast of Melilla, Spain’s north African territory.
Most of the bodies were recovered by the Moroccan authorities while one was found in a separate location by a Spanish police boat and was taken to Melilla.
The search was widened yesterday with the support of a Spanish police helicopter, according to Irene Flores, a spokeswoman for the Spanish government in Melilla.
Authorities had feared the recent strong winds and currents could lead the bodies to drift farther.
No one knows when or where the tragedy occurred, nor do they know the exact route the migrants were following.
The amount of migrants arriving in Spain through the Mediterranean almost tripled to nearly 22,000 last year, while reported drownings off the Spanish coast nearly doubled, according to a January report by the UN’s International Organization for Migration.