A small boat, carrying 280 migrants , recently made landfall on Spain’s Canary Islands. This remote island, El Hierro, situated about 380 kilometers off Africa’s western coast, served as their destination on a Tuesday.
Rescue personnel reported that the individuals on board hailed from sub-Saharan Africa, marking the largest group of migrants to ever arrive in the archipelago simultaneously. The journey to the Canary Islands remains one of the most frequently utilized and perilous routes for African migrants seeking entry into Europe.
Journalist and former migration adviser Txema Santana expressed astonishment on social media, stating, “I’ve never witnessed a boat carrying so many people.”
Since the beginning of the year, 140 individuals have lost their lives or disappeared while attempting this crossing, as reported by the International Organization for Migration. Use of this route has been on the rise in recent years due to stricter controls aimed at preventing people from crossing the Mediterranean from Africa‘s northern coastline.
According to Spain’s interior ministry, between January 1st and September 30th of this year, a total of 14,976 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands, representing a 19.8% increase compared to the same period in 2022.
On a related note, Senegal’s navy announced on Monday that it had intercepted four boats over the course of three days, carrying more than 600 individuals. In August, a tragic incident occurred when at least 60 people were reported to have perished on a boat that was eventually located off Cape Verde, an African island nation positioned along the migration route to the Canary Islands.