THE desperate search for two young men who disappeared whilst fishing off the coast of the Costa del Sol has been called off after rescue efforts proved fruitless.

The two men, aged 26 and 31 respectively, were in the waters off Marbella when their 6.5 metre-long boat suddenly suffered an engine failure.

The pair, both residents of Ceuta, the Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast, sent out a distress signal at 8.23pm on the evening of Tuesday, January 16.

The rescue search, hampered by poor weather, has been called off with the two men still missing. Credit: Cordon Press

An associate of the unnamed duo reported that their phones stopped emitting a signal shortly after the emergency warning was sent.

The Spanish maritime rescue service, in conjunction with the Guardia Civil and Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, have since been scouring the area where the two men were last seen, roughly 20 miles off the coast of Marbella. 

Search efforts have also taken place off the coasts of Almeria and Ceuta as officials used data on wind direction and water currents to locate areas where the powerless boat may have drifted to.

However, rescue efforts were impeded by unfavourable weather conditions, with both Storm Irene and Storm Juan bringing gusts in excess of 37 knots.

The search has now been called off with the two men still unaccounted for, almost two weeks since they were last spotted aboard their boat, ‘Budion’.

Boats passing through the Gibraltar Strait have been instructed to remain alert, whilst rescue centres in both Morocco and Algeria have been informed about recent developments.

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