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Survivors: 16 migrants missing from shipwreck near Canaries

Authorities in Spain’s Canary Islands say survivors rescued from a sinking rubber boat reported that 16 people were still missing

According to survivors’ testimonies, a total of 58 people had boarded the rubber boat and departed from Cape Bojador, in the disputed territory of Western Sahara, Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service said on Friday. The vast majority of those rescued were from the Maghreb region. Spain’s government delegation in the Canary Islands confirmed 16 people from the boat had been reported missing.

Search operations had been halted due to the continuous arrival of other migrant boats in need of rescue, the Maritime Rescue Service said.

Last year more than 22,000 migrants reached the Canaries by boat, accounting for roughly half of all irregular arrivals to Spain, according to figures released by Spain’s Interior Ministry.

As arrivals surge, so do fatalities. According to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project, 1,176 people were reported to have died or gone missing on the Atlantic route to the Canary Islands last year. But it admits this is likely a vast underestimate. In comparison, the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, or Walking Borders, reported more than 4,000 people died trying to reach the Canaries in 2021.

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