The National Police this Tuesday arrested two people accused of organizing and skippering one of the two boats that were shipwrecked this Monday at dawn off the coast of Cabo de Gata, in Almería. The sinking of one and the semi-sinking of the other have left three dead and 10 missing. Only 16 of the 29 crew members could be rescued by Salvamento Marítimo and the Guardia Civil some 15 miles southeast of the coast. The detainees have been brought to justice, accused of a crime against the rights of foreign citizens and a crime of murder.
The boat that the defendants had allegedly skippered had 17 people on board, including them. From this patera the body of a minor was recovered who later identified herself as the daughter of other members. According to police investigations, one of the detainees was in charge of placing the rest of the crew in the boat in an orderly manner after their departure in a boat from the beach of El Merdeg in Oran the day before, while the second was dedicated to piloting the patera assisted by his companion in refueling tasks and managing the GPS to go to Almería.
The investigators consider that the life of the members of this boat “was put in danger”, which is confirmed after the shipwreck they suffered, when they were aboard a “totally inadequate” boat. It was a five meter long and two meter wide pneumatic, powered by an 85 horsepower Yamaha engine, which did not have any type of lighting. Nor did he have a life jacket.
17 missing since the end of the year
At least five boats have been shipwrecked off the coast of Almería since last December 21. The last shipwreck occurred this Monday night, when 29 people transferred to the port of Carboneras from three boats were rescued. One of those boats suffered an accident that resulted in the disappearance of four people, according to the testimonies of the survivors.
According to the data that Salvamento Marítimo manages, 17 people have disappeared in the area since last December 31. From the Red Cross they raise the number of people who are still wanted by different means to 18, with data from December 21. So far this year, 134 people have arrived in Almería, and another 379 have made it to the Canary Islands.
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According to the Monitoring of the right to life report published this Monday by the organization Caminando Fronteras, 4,404 people have disappeared on the access routes to Spain during 2021, including 628 women and 205 children. This figure is double that of the previous year, in which the sum amounted to 2,170, and is five times more than the 2019 count, 893. Most of the deaths occurred on the Canarian route.