A total of 272 illegal immigrants were landed in the Port of Cartagena mid-morning on Saturday after being rescued at dawn from a flotilla of 25 boats in the Region, adding to the 189 people who were rescued on Friday afternoon.
The small convoy was detected during the early hours of the morning by the Maritime Rescue Agency who immediately alerted the security forces and the Red Cross.
Two patrol boats were despatched to intercept the boats, the ‘Tornado’ belonging to the Spanish Navy and the ‘Clara Campoamor’ from the Salvage and Maritime Agency.
They were picked up and eventually landed in Cartagena at about 8.30 am on Saturday morning. In total, 44 boats were said to have been detected over the 24hr period. All are said to be of Algerian nationality.
Among the 189 who were rescued on Friday afternoon there were nine women and five children. The women, one of which was pregnant, were taken to the charity home of Santa Teresa, while the five children were all moved to juvenile centres. The men were accommodated in different police stations in the region.
The pregnant woman and four other people were transferred to the Santa Lucia hospital for health checks.
The 272 immigrants that landed on Saturday morning were put up in the gymnasium of a vocational college, the Instituto Bastarreche (CIFP Hespérides), which has now become a “temporary internment centre for foreigners”. Over 100 police have been deployed from across the region to guard the centre.
Government Delegate, Francisco Bernabé, says that the majority of immigrants will be quickly repatriated to Algeria
Meanwhile the Torrevieja maritime service of the Guardia Civil intercepted two boats early on Friday morning, just 22 kms off the coast and carrying 21 immigrants, four of who are said to be children.
The boats were carrying 10 and 11 passengers respectively and were found about 13 miles south-west of the Torrevieja harbour. When detected at about 9am, they are thought to have been heading to Alicante
A spokesman for the Alicante Operations Centre said that all appear to be in good health and all were subjected to a medical examination by Cruz Roja Alicante shortly after they arrived in the 2 x 30hp vessels.
The security forces said they are of North African origin and seem to be heading up a flotilla of similar craft which were thought to be further south and closer to the coastline of Murcia. The arrival of boats coincides with periods with good maritime conditions which is the favoured time of travel for the immigrants.
A further ten immigrants, all adults, were intercepted on Saturday morning off Pilar de la Horadada after they had been spotted by the crew of a trawler. Their boat was said to be drifting without any form of power. They too were escorted into Torrevieja where they were met by representatives of the Red Cross.