Staff Reporter

PALMA
THE nine Algerian immigrants rescued off the coast of Majorca last weekend were taken to Valencia by ferry yesterday morning with a police escort.
They will be held at the Internment Centre for Foreigners there until they can be returned to their country of origin.
The nine immigrants, all men, boarded the Trasmediterranea ferry which sails at 8.30am daily.
Their internment was authorised yesterday by the courts, after Ramon Socias, the central government representative in the Balearics, signed the necessary paperwork.

Court sources said that the immigrants said they were of Algerian nationality, although they had no papers accrediting this, or justifying their residence on the island. It was because of this that the judge ordered them to be taken to Valencia, as there is no holding centre in the Balearics.

It will take a maximum of 40 days to process the papers to return the immigrants to their home country.
When rescued, they told the police they had been adrift for three days after their small eight-metre boat ran out of fuel. They said that two men who had been in charge of the boat had left them adrift, leaving in another boat, but although a helicopter search was made, they were never traced. Police believe that they probably returned to Algeria.

The immigrants were the second group to reach the Balearics in three months, leading to calls for tighter coastal controls.

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