Spanish lifeboat - file photo

Spanish rescue workers spent days searching for the small Senegalese boat

Spanish rescuers are searching off the coast of the Canary Islands for a boat carrying at least 200 African migrants who have been missing for more than a week.

Aid group Walking Borders said the fishing boat was from the coastal town of Kafountain on the southern Senegalese coast, about 1,700km (1,057 miles) from Tenerife.

According to Spain’s Efe news agency, the group said several children were in the boat.

Two similar boats carrying dozens more people were also reported missing.

The ferry, carrying about 200 people, left Cafountain on June 27 and headed for the Canary Islands.

Spain’s maritime rescue service told AFP that a plane had joined the search.

There are few details about the other two boats. Reuters news agency quoted Helena Maleno of Walking Borders as reporting that one had about 65 people on board, the other as many as 60, bringing the number of people missing on the three boats to more than 300.

The news comes just weeks after Europe’s worst shipwreck in the Mediterranean, when a crammed crew of sailors drowned off the coast of Greece.

At least 78 people have been confirmed dead, but the United Nations has reported that up to 500 people are missing.

The journey from West Africa to the Canary Islands is one of the most dangerous routes for migrants, not least because they usually travel in rickety fishing boats that are easily tossed by the strong Atlantic currents.

Last year, at least 559 people died at sea trying to reach the Spanish islands, according to the United Nations refugee agency (IOM). In the year The number of deaths in 2021 was 1,126.

IOM quoted the Spanish Ministry of the Interior. In 2022, 15,682 people arrived irregularly in the Canary Islands, a decrease of 30% compared to 2021.

“Despite a year-on-year decrease, flows from 2020 on this dangerous route will remain high compared to previous years,” the IOM says.

By W_Manga

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