Five more bodies found after Morocco migrant shipwreck

Published October 1, 2019, 7:36 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Agence France-Presse

The bodies of five more Moroccans were recovered Monday after their inflatable boat headed for Spain sank off Casablanca, raising the death toll to at least 12, local officials said.

Seven bodies were found hours after the migrant boat sank in the Atlantic on Saturday and three other Moroccans pulled out of the water unconscious were hospitalised.

It was unclear how many people were on the boat, and rescue workers have kept up their search.

Since January, more than 15,000 migrants have reached Spain by sea, according to Spanish authorities.

Many depart from Morocco’s northern Mediterranean coast, just a few dozen kilometres (miles) from the south of Spain, far shorter than the Atlantic route.

But overall arrivals in Spain by sea have decreased significantly this year.

Last year, Moroccan authorities stopped some 89,000 “irregular immigration attempts”, of which 29,000 were by sea, according to official figures.

The European Union committed 140 million euros ($155 million) in 2018 towards managing migration from Morocco.

The migrants come mostly from West African countries, but in the past two years increasing numbers of young Moroccans have tried to leave, driven out by social inequality and high youth unemployment.