By mid afternoon yesterday the National Police were holding a total of 26 illegal immigrants, including five minors, in custody, after they were caught trying to slip into the Balearics by boat by Guardia Civil patrols yesterday morning.

All four of the vessels had been spotted from the air heading for the Balearics on Tuesday afternoon and the Guardia Civil were on full alert, monitoring their progress as they neared the islands.

The first, carrying 11 men, three minors, was intercepted off Cabrera. The three other vessels were intercepted off Ibiza where the further 15, two minors, were arrested, although the Guardia Civil were still searching for more possible illegal immigrants yesterday and not ruling pour further arrests.

All 26, all male, were handed over to the National Police for processing before being sent to holding camps on the mainland. The minors will be handed over to the care of the social services.

To date, a total of 11 boats carrying illegal immigrants have been intercepted in Balearic waters this year carrying a total of 115 people on board.

And, the number of irregular immigrants traveling to Spain continues to rise, with 59,048 reaching the country during the first 11 months of the year, according to data published by the Spanish Interior Ministry yesterday.The ministry said this is an increase of 129 percent on the 25,786 migrants who came to Spain in the first 11 months of 2017.

52,795 of the migrants came to Spain by making the dangerous sea crossing of the Mediterranean, which separates Spain from the coast of Morocco just 14 kilometres away at the narrowest point. November saw 11,543 arrivals. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that at least 114 people lost their lives attempting the crossing in what was the most fatal month of 2018 for migrants attempting to reach Spain.

According to the IOM, 90 people died attempting to reach Spain in October, 99 in September and 68 in August.

As well as the 52,795 people who reached Spain by the maritime route, a further 6,253 reached Spanish territory by crossing into the Spain’s two north African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, either by being smuggled through frontier posts or scaling the double 6 metre high razor wire which makes up the border fence.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 21.4 percent of all irregular migrants to Spain come from Morocco, 20.9 percent from Equatorial Guinea and 15.9 percent from Mali.