Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Two Held Over Migrant Boat that Sank Off Canary Isles

Two Held Over Migrant Boat that Sank Off Canary Isles

Tuesday, 22 June, 2021 - 11:45
Rescue workers search for bodies after a boat capsized in the beach of Orzola, in the Canary Island of Lanzarote, Spain June 18, 2021. REUTERS/Borja Suarez

Spanish police said Tuesday they had arrested two men over a migrant boat which overturned off the Canary Islands last week claiming four lives, among them two women and a child.

"Police have arrested the two skippers of the boat that arrived last Thursday off the coast of Lanzarote" island, AFP quoted a statement as saying.

The nine-meter vessel overturned when it hit a rocky area just off the island's northern shores, with rescuers pulling 41 people to safety, among them 20 men, 17 women, two children and two babies.

They also recovered four bodies, including those of two women, one visibly pregnant, and a boy aged about eight.

Police said the two men were arrested after they were identified by survivors as being responsible for "steering and navigating the boat".

They were being held on suspicion of "encouraging illegal immigration and reckless homicide", the statement said.

The arrests raised to 89 the total number of people detained this year for violating the rights of foreigners by navigating migrant boats to the Canary Islands, the statement said.

Migrant arrivals on the Atlantic archipelago have surged since late 2019 after increased patrols along Europe's southern coast dramatically reduced crossings to the continent via the Mediterranean.

Editor Picks