The migrants started out on about a dozen boats in Africa, according to the Spanish newspaper El País.
In recent weeks, the trafficking routes have increasingly shifted towards Spain. Italy no longer allows ships from non-governmental organisations to dock with sylum seekers on board. In addition, aid agencies reported that Libya was increasingly targeting smugglers.
Many of the African-born migrants therefore move to the neighbouring countries of Algeria and Morocco, from where they try to get to Europe.
Last week, the Coast Guard had brought about 460 immigrants to Spain. According to the authorities, the Mediterranean migrants had started from Morocco.
According to the International Migration Organisation (IOM), around 23 000 immigrants have arrived in Spain from across the sea this year, and 307 people died trying to reach land. Illegal immigrants also try to reach Spanish national territory by land.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has agreed to allow 60 immigrants from aboard the Aquarius. The migrant ship docked in Malta on Wednesday after having waited for several days in the Mediterranean, calling on European governments to allow 141 migrants to enter.
Germany also announced that it would participate in allowing the Aquarius migrants to step ashore. A spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of the Interior said that Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) had decided to take “up to 50 people rescued from distress for humanitarian reasons”.
Hoy hasta 13:15h: Rescatadas 361 #personas 9 #pateras de las cuales 135 personas/5 pateras #Estrecho y 226 personas/4 pateras #Alboran Participan búsqueda: buques Luz de Mar/SAR Mastelero, guardamar Concepción Arenal, salvamares Arcturus/Gadir y patrulera Alcotán 14 @aduanassva pic.twitter.com/aNXgFRdKye
— SALVAMENTO MARÍTIMO (@salvamentogob) August 15, 2018