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Spain: Interior Ministry charters vessel to return Algerian migrants to Algeria

The Spanish Interior Ministry has ordered the company Trasmediterránea to charter three boats to take migrants back to Algeria.

Published: December 24, 2020, 4:53 am

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    The contract with the shipping company amounts to a cost of 200 000 euros and will allow the return of about 120 Algerian migrants.

    The Interior Ministry has tasked the Spanish shipping company Trasmediterránea with chartering three ships to transfer some 120 migrants in an irregular situation in Spain to Algeria from Alicante.

    Algeria is one of the African countries with which the coalition government has intensified its political efforts in recent months to try to speed up the return of migrants arriving in Spain, which has led to visits to Algiers in 2020 by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (Arancha González Laya) as well as the Minister of the Interior (Fernando Grande-Marlaska).

    More specifically, Grande-Marlaska met the president, Abdelmadjid Tebboun, the Minister of the Interior, Local Authorities and Regional Planning, Kamel Beldjoud, and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sabri Boukadoum on August 10 to discuss this matter.

    In accordance with the agreed conditions, “a maximum of 40 irregular immigrants” will travel on each of the three ships, accompanied by police officers who will provide the corresponding escort service. The cost of each trip has been estimated at 65 000 euros and includes the transfer of Algerian citizens and agents, maintenance of groups and accommodation in the cabins of officials. It will be financed by the Asylum Migration Integration Fund (FAMI) of the European Union.

    Of the 35 656 immigrants who had managed to arrive in Spain until the end of last November (by sea and by land), 10 930 were of Algerian nationality, which is more than triple the number in the same period of the previous year (3 559). Algeria is key due to its geographical location for the routes of the mafias that are dedicated to trafficking people from Africa to Europe, being a country of both origin and transit.

    In his repeated parliamentary appearances and public statements, the minister has referred to the fight against human trafficking and irregular immigration as one of the “priority axes” of his department. According to it, the strategy is based on bilateral cooperation with countries of origin and transit, prevention at origin through specific operational projects and border control.

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