Spain on course to surpass Greece as European Union migration destination

Spain on course to surpass Greece as European Union migration destination

Spain on course to surpass Greece as European Union migration destination

IOM spokesman Joel Millman said he believes that migrants taking the long route towards Italy via the Sahara and Libya - many of whom are from West Africa - are now choosing to take the "safer" coastal route through Morocco.

On Thursday morning, Spanish coastguards said they had rescued 10 men from sub-Saharan Africa in a rickety boat off Tarifa in southern Spain.

In contrast, some 13,200 migrants came to Greece this year - more than 11,700 of whom arrived by sea - down from 176,906 in total the previous year.

"Some people arrive with little strength left, sometimes they got lost, lost the engine, don't have anything to eat or drink in the boat, some have sunburns or burns from the petrol".

"It's possible that Spain will outperform Greece this year", he added.

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Spain may overtake Greece this year in numbers of migrants arriving clandestinely by sea, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

At least 121 refugees lost their lives while trying to reach Spain by sea this year, compared to 97 last year, the IOM said.

He also said they were using smaller crafts to cross the short but choppy sea to Spain in the hope of slipping in undetected.

On Tuesday, Spanish police found 30 Moroccan and Algerian migrants, ten of which were children, hidden in fairground vehicles in the enclave city.

But crossings from Morocco to Spain - a distance of nine miles at its narrowest point - are growing rapidly.

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More than 1,600 people have been rescued off the coast of Cádiz since January.

At about 5am on Monday, 186 migrants stormed the border and reached European Union soil.

The migrants were eventually rounded up and taken to a reception centre, where they can apply for asylum in Spain.

Spain and Morocco agreed yesterday to close the Tarajal post to freight traffic for a week because of recent migrant crossing attempts.

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