Migrants intercepted off the coast of Gran Canaria arrive aboard a Spanish maritime rescue boat at the port of Arguineguin on the island of Gran Canaria, Spain, Dec. 23, 2019. (Reuters Photo)
The Spanish coast guard said it had rescued about 200 migrants on Christmas Day, plucking them from the makeshift boats in the Mediterranean Sea.
It said they were saved in a number of separate operations off the coasts of Spain and Morocco, but gave no information about the nationalities of those on board.
In 2019, at least 1,246 migrants have died making the perilous crossing over the Mediterranean to seek a new life in Europe, according to the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration.
The largest number of people rescued were found on the Zaffarin islands off Morocco and the tiny islet of Alboran, in total about 120, the Spanish coast guard said.
Several other dinghies were discovered off the southeastern coast of Spain as well as off Gibraltar and near the Canary Islands in the Atlantic.