Eight Migrants Dead as Vessel Sinks off Morocco’s Coast

Wed Feb 28 2024
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RABAT: The bodies of eight migrants have been recovered after their vessel sank off Morocco’s northern coast, local authorities said Wednesday. According to local authorities, nine others were rescued from the sea following the incident, AFP reported.

The migrants had embarked on their journey from Morocco’s northern Nador region, aiming to cross the Mediterranean aboard an inflatable boat, as stated by authorities quoted by the state news agency MAP. The vessel sank on Tuesday due to adverse weather conditions.

Efforts are underway to locate any missing person, with authorities confirming that search operations are ongoing. An investigation into the incident has also been initiated. The nationalities of the migrants involved in the tragedy have not yet been specified.

Morocco a Common Departure Point for Illegal Migrants 

Morocco serves as a common departure point for irregular migrants attempting the perilous journey across the Mediterranean or the Atlantic Ocean, seeking better prospects in Europe. In recent weeks, the Moroccan navy has conducted several operations along the southwestern coast, intercepting or rescuing numerous migrants.

In 2023, the Moroccan army reported intercepting approximately 87,000 irregular migrants. The number of undocumented migrants entering Spain also surged, with 56,852 people arriving last year, marking an 82.1 percent increase from 2022. The influx was primarily driven by a record number of arrivals in the Canary Islands, located approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Morocco at its closest point.

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