Migrant crisis: Spain rescues 600 people in busiest day
Spain’s coastguard says it has rescued 600 migrants crossing from Morocco in a 24-hour period amid a spike in the number of migrant arrivals.
The rescued migrants were in 15 vessels including toy paddleboats and a jet ski and included 35 children and a baby.
The UN says more than 9,000 people have arrived in Spain so far this year – three times as many as the previous year.
More than 120 people are believed to have drowned attempting the crossing.
The increase in crossings means Spain could overtake Greece this year in the number of migrants arriving by sea, the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said earlier this month.
Most are sailing across the 12km (seven-mile) Strait of Gibraltar and many are choosing cheap, child-sized paddle boats without motors that allow them to bypass people smuggling networks and their fees.
Some migrants are using social media to contact the Spanish authorities and inform them of their location once they are in territorial waters, the BBC’s Gavin Lee in the Spanish city of Tarifa says.