Migrant found dead on boat in Spain’s Canary Islands

The body of a man was found dead on a boat carrying 44 other migrants that arrived Sunday at Spain’s  Gran Canaria island after a week at sea, Spain’s coastguard said.

A rescue operation was launched after the vessel was spotted as it neared  Anfi del Mar beach on the south of the holiday island, a coastguard spokeswoman said.

The 44 migrants who arrived alive received medical attention and were then taken to the nearby port of Arguineguin to be processed, she added.

All of the migrants were males, many of them minors, from the Maghreb region of North Africa. The boat is believed to have departed from Morocco.

Separately, the coastguard recovered the body of another migrant off Spain’s southern coast on Sunday, but others 16 were still missing.

The latest discovery brings to nine the number of bodies found after a boat carrying migrants that had been spotted west of Spain’s Cape Trafalgar sank on Thursday.

Two men were found alive on board the boat while a woman was rescued from the water.

Meanwhile, the coastguard also rescued 16 vessels off the Balearic Isles in the Mediterranean on Sunday, pulling 203 people — including eight women — to safety, the government delegation in the archipelago said.

Spain is one of the major gateways for migrants departing from North Africa and seeking a better life in Europe.

More than 27,000 migrants arrived by sea in continental Spain and the Balearic and Canary Islands between January and the end of September, a 54 percent increase over the same period in 2020, according interior ministry figures.

The sea route to Spain is fraught with danger. The International Organization for Migration says at least 1,025 people have died in 2021, already “the deadliest year on the migratory route to Spain”.