Five found dead near Canary waters

Typical migrant boat off coast of Canary Islands Credit: Salvamento Marítimo

Sadly, five migrants were found dead although happily another 68 were rescued off the Canary Islands, on Thursday June 20.

Cruise ship leads rescue

The Salvamento Marítimo received an alert from an oil tanker about a vessel the previous afternoon, approximately 815 kilometres south of Tenerife.

The Insignia, a cruise ship, managed to recover through its crew three of the five bodies from the boat, but due to adverse weather conditions, the remaining two bodies were left at sea.

One of the Insignia’s passengers, Steve Dilbeck from Huntington Beach, California, shared in an interview for AP that passengers were informed the migrants were adrift for 20 days.

“We were diverted in the evening and took us two hours to reach them. They were brought on board and placed in the Insignia Lounge, which is where they have all their shows,” he said.

According to Dilbeck, passengers were asked to donate clothing and shoes, especially for males, as 62 of the rescued were men, alongside women and children.

Record Influx

The Canary Islands are a common destination for migrants from north western Africa who face the dangerous Atlantic journey to arrive in Europe.

The migrant’s attempts to a better life travelling via the Atlantic Ocean are a result of the increased vigilance in the Mediterranean as part of the new Action Plan for the Western Mediterranean and Atlantic routes announced by the European Commission in 2023.

Spain’s Interior Ministry reported a substantial increase in migrant arrivals, with 55,618 reaching the country by boat last year.

This figure was nearly double from the previous year. Over 23,000 migrants have arrived so far this year according to the Ministry.

The Caminando Fronteras organization reports over 5,000 migrant deaths attempting to reach Spanish coasts this year.

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Written by

Talyta Franca

Talyta Franca, Class 2026, Northwestern University in Qatar.