Palma.—All the passengers in the boat, adult males, were found to be in good health and are now in the custody of the Guardia Civil in Palma.
The news was given early yesterday by the Central Government Delegate in the Balearic Islands, Ramón Socías.
He confirmed that the boat carrying the illegal immigrants had been detected by an external radar system at around 00.30 hours yesterday morning some 10 nautical miles off the Island of Cabrera.

Socías said there had been just a minute or two when the “blip” had disappeared from the radar screen, probably as a result of the change of direction of the boat wanting to avoid Cabrera on its route to Majorca. “But it soon came back into view,” said Socías.

A Guardia Civil patrol went into action immediately the alarm was raised and intercepted the vessel out at sea at around 02.35 hours. Having verified that the passengers were immigrants, officers guided the boat - some 4.8 metres in length with a 35 horse power engine - back to shore and the seven men were taken into custody in Palma.

When the Guardia Civil searched the boat, they found an auxiliary motor, five drums of fuel, containers with water and the remains of food. The immigrants had told officers they had been at sea for 20 hours.

Socías said that in all likelihood, after a court appearance today and the signing of an official document ordering that the immigrants be returned to their country of origin, the men would be sent to a holding centre in Barcelona tomorrow.

Socías said that the boat was the third of its kind which had attempted to reach Majorca from Algeria this year. He explained that because of the relatively short journey, smaller vessels are used which immigrants hope could be mistaken for local fishing vessels. Passengers come well prepared for the trip, he said.

Socías said that people living in the Balearics could rest assured that the watch out being kept for illegal boats is now very effective.


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