AT LEAST 951 migrants have died while trying to reach Spain by sea in the first half of 2023 according to a Spanish migrant rights group.
Caminando Fronteras said the total includes 112 women and 49 children and compiles its figures from families of migrants as well as official rescue statistics.
It said in a report published on Thursday that official Spanish figures show fewer boats arrived in the first six months, but that 13 more people died than in the first six months of last year.
The Interior Ministry says 12,192 people arrived by boat in the first six months of 2023- 4% less than in the same period last year.
Caminando Fronteras blamed countries such as Spain and Morocco for a lack of coordination and failing to conduct rescue operations in time.
It gave the example of a June 21 incident in which 24 people were rescued and two bodies were retrieved after a boat sank in waters off Morocco’s coast, but 36 migrants disappeared.
It said a Moroccan rescue ship did not arrive until 10 hours after the first warnings were sent out about the boat.
More recently, Caminando Fronteras and Alarm Phone, another group that receives calls from migrant boats in distress, reported that 55 migrants who departed around June 22 from southern Morocco for the Canary Islands went missing when their boat sank.
According to activists, only four were rescued by Moroccan authorities.
It was not possible to get any official information about the incident from Morocco.
The International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project recorded the sinking based on reports from the two groups, which it deems to be trustworthy and whose accounts are often the only ones available about sinkings.
Caminando Fronteras said 2,390 migrants died or were reported missing while trying to reach Spain in 2022.
- Spain’s Maritime Rescue service pulls 187 migrants from waters off the Canary Islands’ coasts
- Migrants drown off Almeria coast in Spain after being forced to swim to shore by boat captains
- 40% of migrants who lost their lives while traveling to Spain died between 2020 and 2022