Spain rescued over 600 migrants in 24 hours on Thursday as they attempted to cross from Morocco to Spain amid a surge in arrivals on what has become the fastest growing sea route to Europe, according to reports.
The migrants were found in 15 vessels on Wednesday including a jet ski after sailing across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco, according to ITV reports.
Two more rafts, one bearing six children, was picked up on the Gibraltar Strait on Thursday morning, reported the Telegraph.
The vast majority of the migrants are from North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The high number of boats coming to the Spanish coast this summer is unusual,” said a spokeswoman for Spain’s coastguard.
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), 8,385 migrants had arrived in Spain this year by 9 August.
At least 121 drowned while attempting this route, compared to 128 deaths for the whole of 2016, as recorded by the IOM.
Spain could overtake Greece this year in the number of migrants arriving by sea, the IOM said in a recent statement.
And this doesn’t take into account those crossing by land into Ceuta and Melilla, two Spanish territories in northern Morocco.
Both cities are the EU’s only land borders with Africa
This article was originally published in the Middle East Eye.