Spain: Five migrant boats arrive in the Balearic Islands

Five boats carrying 72 migrants independently reached Mallorca and neighboring islands on Wednesday. The arrival of migrant boats on the Spanish Balearic Islands is rare, but their number has increased in recent years.

The five boats all arrived on the Spanish islands within hours on Wednesday morning (November 9), according to local authorities. The 72 passengers are said to be in good health.

The first two boats were located around 3 a.m. near the small island of Cabrera, about five kilometers off the south coast of Mallorca, according to the news agency dpa.

Another boat arrived soon after on the island of Ibiza; a fourth arrived around 6am at the port of Colònia de Sant Jordi in southern Mallorca, and the fifth arrived shortly after in Cabrera – it was the biggest, carrying 23 people.

Uncommon migratory route

The route from North Africa to the Balearic Islands is not a common migration route. In distance, the Italian islands Lampedusa and Sicily, as well as Malta, are closer to the common departure points of migrants heading to Europe from the North African coasts (usually from Libya and Tunisia).

However, the number of migrants reaching the Balearic Islands has increased in recent years, according to figures. In 2021, a new record was set with 2,404. In comparison, only 507 migrants arrived in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. A total of 147 boats with 2,129 migrants arrived on the island group between January and October this year.

So far this year, 124,497 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea, according to the UN. 1,891 people are believed to be dead or missing, according to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project.

With dpa