The boat that was used by the illegal immigrants. | Guillem Mas

The Guardia Civil and the local police in Santanyi intercepted seven illegal immigrants at around midnight on Monday. They arrived in a boat of some five metres in length and, following standard initial protocols, were handed over to the National Police.

A Guardia patrol in Santanyi had become aware of a vessel around 3pm on Monday afternoon. It was adrift off Cap Salines in Santanyi and clothes and an empty fuel can were found in it. A sea and land unit was then deployed in the area and an engine was found in rocks not far from where the boat was discovered.

Two of the occupants of the boat were located and soon after, around midnight, five more were discovered: all male and of differing ages. The operation, which involved the Guardia's helicopter and maritime service, remains ongoing in case there were other occupants of the boat.

The seven men, all Algerian, will now be subject to processing by the National Police, which will initiate procedures for them to be deported. Over the next couple of days they will, in the meantime, be taken to the immigration detention centre on the mainland.

This is certainly not the first time that there has been a landing of this type in the Balearics. Two vessels of similar characteristics to the boat were found firstly in Cabrera in June and then at Christmas in the same area of Santanyi. In 2015, there were three boats. One in July was also located in Santanyi along with thirteen people. A boat was found abandoned in Sant Josep, Ibiza in August and a third was spotted in Formentera in November, resulting in the interception of three people.