A coast guard ship from the Moroccan Navy rescued 70 struggling sub-Saharan migrants aboard a makeshift boat in the Mediterranean and recovered 7 bodies, it was learned on Monday from a military source.
The boat, which capsized overnight Sunday through Monday in the Alboran Sea, was carrying around 100 illegal immigrants en route to Spain, according to the Spanish association Caminando Fronteras, which counts « 24 missing persons ».
Information from the NGO that closely follows the fate of those who embark on clandestine crossings in the Mediterranean has not been confirmed on the Moroccan side.
The survivors, including ten women and a baby, were in « very degraded condition » and were transferred to Nador (northern Morocco) for treatment, according to the Moroccan military source.
Three women are among the dead, the same source said.
Nearly 25,000 people have died since January 2014 while trying to reach Europe for economic or political reasons, according to the latest assessment from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The vast majority (19,154) perished in the Mediterranean, where the main routes to the European continent are located. But more than 480 have lost their lives in West Africa, including about 160 in 2019.
Boats are trying to reach the Canaries, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of Morocco from Mauritania or Senegal.
A shipwreck on the Atlantic route in early December left 62 dead, the vast majority of them Gambians but also Senegalese, according to IOM.