The now familiar photo of a small boat used by illegal immigrants. This one in Cabrera yesterday.


Illegal immigrants from north Africa are continuing to target Spain as part of their attempt to get into Europe. In the early hours of yesterday morning, 17 illegal immigrants were intercepted and arrested by the Guardia Civil some two miles south of Cabrera.

According to the Guardia Civil ,  the vessel in which the 17 were travelling was located just before 2am by the region’s special SIVE Integrated Exterior Control System, a radar network which was installed across the southern coast some ten years ago to monitor rogue shipping as part of the war against illegal immigrants.

Once the vessel was spotted, a Guardia Civil launch was dispatched to the location and the vessel of illegal immigrants intercepted. One of the 17 is thought to be a minor, but this has yet to be confirmed. In the meantime, all have been processed by the National Police and will eventually be transferred to a detention centre on the mainland where they will face deportation to their country of origin.

Should the minor prove to be under age, then he will be handed over to the care of the Council of Majorca social services here in Palma.

So far this year, 19 illegal immigrant vessels have been detected in Balearics waters, a significant increase compared to the three vessels intercepted last year and in 2015 respectively. But over the past 48 hours a total of 293 illegal immigrants have been plucked to safety by the air sea rescue services trying to reach Spain.

A total of 95 Algerians were rescued in waters off Murcia. According to the Red Cross they were travelling in a fleet of eight vessels and caught among them was just a single female.

Later, a Frontex spotter plane located two other vessels off the coast of Granada. They were carrying a total of 66 illegal immigrants who are thought to have set sail from Bouyfar in Morocco, while the Guardia Civil intercepted another vessel carrying seven immigrants, also Moroccan, near the port of Motril.

Ten more Moroccan immigrants were caught in waters off Alicante, and the Guardia Civil  said yesterday that they suspect the Moroccans were being brought close to the shore overnight by a mother ship before being put to sea in small fishing vessels which are not in condition to make the full crossing unaided.