THE number of migrants arriving in Spain by boat has increased by almost 400% based on statistics comparing arrivals in the month of January with the same period in 2018.

A total of 4,104 people arrived in 98 boats last month, according to figures seen by the Europa Press—up from 1,396 arrivals in January last year.

This comes after news that Spain has become the most popular route into Europe for migrants and refugees coming from the continent of Africa.

Figures released last month by Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, showed the number of arrivals in Spain via the Western Mediterranean route doubled in 2018 to 57,000, and took over from Italy as the most active migratory corridor.

The dramatic decline of illegal crossings into Italy, which fell by 80% in 2018 compared to 2017, came after a controversial deal that saw Italy training and financing the Libyan coastguard to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has proved friendly to migrant boats and charity ships denied access by other European countries.

Just yesterday the Spanish Maritime Rescue saved 278 people from three different boats across the Alboran Sea, according to Europa Press.

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