It was to be a busy Easter weekend.
On Easter Sunday, (16th) another 58 people were rescued from two different embarkations in the Mar de Alboran during the early hours.
The first alert on Sunday had gone out at 09.23h and a search-and-rescue mission mounted, after a tip-off from Morocco, involving the sea-rescue launch Guardamar Polimnia the S.R. aircraft, Sasemar 305. Ships in the area were also alerted to be on the look out.
The Spanish authorities received another alert from a NGO on the North African coast to say that the second embarkation had set off that same morning. The sea-rescue launch, Salvamar Hamal was despatched to locate them, with the help of a sea-rescue helicopter, Helimer 219, which located the vesse at 21.30h.
The sea condition out there was a bit choppy, which made the transfer of the immigrants to the rescue launch more complicated, not only because of the waves, but because the dingy passengers were very nervous.
But it didn’t stop there because on Easter Monday the 17th the Motril-Melilla ferry, Volcán de Timanfaya, reported at 14.30h the sighting of a passenger laden open boat seven nautical miles to the north of Cabo Tres Forcas (Morocco).
Again a sea-rescue aircraft and launch were despatched and the ferry, Sorolla, which was known to be in the area, was asked to take a note of the course that the embarkation was taking if spotted. The ferry reported back that they had sighted it and gave its location and course.
S.R. aircraft Sasemar 305 found them drifting without a functioning outboard engine and guided the S.R. vessel, Guardamar Polimnia to intercept. They found it with 33 passengers 75 nautical miles south of the Almeria coast.
All of these illegal immigrants, who were brought into Motril Port, were received by the Spanish Red Cross and Policía Nacional. As soon as they set foot on the dockside they received R.C. blankets and dry clothes, as well as medical assistance.
After processing they were transferred to an already-overcrowded CIE (temporary holding centre).
(News: Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)