Moroccan Navy Rescues 21 Migrants, 45 Migrants Die at Sea

The Moroccan Royal Navy vessel.

Rabat – The Royal Moroccan Navy has rescued 21 migrants, including 13 women, who were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Spain. However, 45 migrants, all sub-Saharan Africans, died at sea.

The Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) collective, which alerts naval authorities about migrant boats in distress at sea between Morocco and Spain told the Associated Press on Thursday that there were pregnant women among the migrants who drowned.

“There was also one young girl, between 12 and 14 years old, who didn’t survive,” said Helena Maleno, the Tangier-based NGO’s spokesperson.

The undocumented migrants’ boat sunk two hours after they called Walking Borders. The migrants were screaming that they were drowning, Maleno said.

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Thousands of migrants throw themselves at the mercy of the sea as they attempt to cross to Europe, and many die as a result.

Last year,  2,075 people died or went missing crossing the Mediterranean, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

November 2018 was the deadliest month in 2018, since as many as 631 African migrants died while trying to cross to Spain.

Although IOM reported that 2,075 people from Africa and the Middle East drowned in the sea in 2018, 104,506 migrants arrived by sea in Europe as of last November. In the same period, 7,100 Moroccans attempted to cross to Spain, according to official Spanish sources.

On December 23 a tragic migration story made headlines. More than 100 undocumented migrants landed in southern Spain by boats from Morocco. Two babies who were in the boats died on the way and were thrown into the sea.