File image of an illegal boat. | Archives

The Guardia Civil yesterday intercepted five small vessels of illegal immigrants trying to come ashore in various parts of the Balearics.

Six illegal immigrants were apprehended by the Guardia Civil after arriving in Cala Figuera, Santanyi on a small boat.

The boat was spotted at around ten in the morning.

Officers later stopped six people in the Cala Figuera area and were looking for others believed to have been in the boat. Three other boats later appeared in Formentera and one in Ibiza.

Nine illegal immigrants were picked up in Formentera.

In Ibiza, a boat arrived at around 1pm at Cap des Falcó.

The Guardia Civil said that a total of 17 illegal immigrants had been detained but they were still searching for as many as between 15 and 20 more in Formentera yesterday evening after eyewitnesses said that two of the vessels were slightly larger than the others were carrying relatively large groups of people.

All are said to be from Algeria and now the Guardia Civil have to determine which of them are minors, which means they will be handed over to the care of the social services while adults, depending on their state of health, will be processed by the National Police and moved to detention centres on the mainland where they will await deportation to their country of origin. In the first seven months of 2019, some 16,700 refugees and migrants arrived by land and sea in Spain.

While land arrivals at the enclaves have decreased by 16% compared to the same period last year, sea arrivals dropped by 43% following Spain’s decision in February to limit rescues to Spain’s Search and Rescue Region, as well as increased measures to prevent departures from North Africa.