At least 300 persons on three migrant boats heading from Senegal to Spain’s Canary Islands have gone missing, according to the migrant relief organization Walking Borders.
According to Helena Maleno of Walking Borders, two boats, one with about 65 people on board and the other with between 50 and 60, have been missing for 15 days after leaving Senegal. On June 27, a third boat with around 200 individuals on board departed Senegal.
Since they departed, the relatives of those on board have not heard from them, according to Maleno. One of the Canary Islands, Tenerife, is around 1,700 kilometers away from the three boats’ departure point in Kafountine, in the southern part of Senegal.
“The families are very worried. There about 300 people from the same area of Senegal. They have left because of the instability in Senegal,” Maleno said.
Migrants trying to enter Spain now mostly travel to the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa. A significantly lesser number also tries to get to the mainland of Spain by crossing the Mediterranean.
The peak season for attempted crossings is the summer. Migration from sub-Saharan Africa often follows one of the world’s deadliest routes, the Atlantic.
Attempts to reach the Canary Islands resulted in at least 559 fatalities in 2022, including 22 minors, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration of the United Nations.