Thirteen sub-Saharan African migrants died and another 80 were rescued at sea after they tried to reach Spain in two boats from the North African coast, Spanish authorities said on Monday.
Increasing numbers of migrants are trying to enter Spain by sea or by crossing into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco, which are the only European territories in Africa.
“The coast guard recovered two vessels heading toward the peninsula, with 93 people, 13 of whom have unfortunately died,” the Spanish government delegation in Melilla said in a statement.
It said nine of the dead — all men — were recovered at sea and Red Cross efforts to revive four others also failed.
The two vessels were recovered 20 miles (32 km) off the coast of Melilla, it said, without giving details on the state of the vessels.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 47,000 migrants have arrived by sea in Spain since the start of the year and another 564 have died or disappeared during the journey, often made aboard overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels.