Between Friday night and Sunday morning, 1,492 migrants arrived on the coast of the Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago off the west African coast. Local emergency services made the announcement on Sunday via X, formerly Twitter. Exactly 321 of them arrived on the same ship, a record number.
The previous record dates back to October 3, when 280 people arrived on the same boat. An emergency services spokesman explained to Agence France-Presse that the migrants come from sub-Saharan African countries.
According to the latest figures issued by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, 23,537 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands from January 1 to October 15 this year. This represents an 80 percent increase compared to the same period in 2022. During the first two weeks of October alone, 8,561 people participated. The last time there were this many in such a short period of time was during the previous migration peak in 2006.
According to Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who visited the archipelago last week, the current increase is linked to what he called “destabilization of the Sahel region.” The fact that migrants want to reach Europe via the Canary Islands also appears to be a result of stricter controls in the Mediterranean.
However, shipwrecks regularly occur during long and dangerous crossings on small boats from Morocco or Western Sahara, about a hundred kilometers away, but also from Mauritania, Senegal and even Gambia, about a thousand kilometers away.
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