15 Jun, 2023 @ 15:45
1 min read

Spain deploys more than 19,000 police officers to monitor return of millions of Moroccans to home country

Ferry to Morocco Photo from frs.es

FROM TODAY, Thursday, more than 19,000 Spanish police officers will begin to monitor what is known as Operación Paso del Estrecho, or Operation Crossing the Straits, when millions of Moroccan nationals travel to their home country from other European states through Spain for their summer vacations.

According to the Interior Ministry, a total of 19,441 police will be deployed, which is a 21.4% increase on the number for 2022. 

The operation will run until September 15, according to online daily El HuffPost, and will include 14,073 civil guards and 4,520 National Police officers. 

There will also be 648 officers stationed at the ports and borders in Valencia, Alicante, Almeria, Malaga, Motril (Granada), Algeciras and Tarifa (Cádiz), as well as Spain’s North African cities of Ceuta and Melilla.

According to figures from the Interior Ministry, in 2022 a total of 2.9 million passengers left Spain bound for North Africa, as well as 695,487 vehicles. The route was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The ministry stated that the aim of this operation is to ensure that these travellers have a safe and fluid journey through Spain to their country of origin. 

A total of seven shipping companies will be running 36 ferries to cover the route over the summer. 

Peak times for outbound travel will include June 24 to 27, July 29 to August 1, and August 29 to September 1 for the return.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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