Immigrants’ boat catches fire off Cartagena


ELEVEN REFUGEES from Algeria trying to enter Spain illegally were rescued by a maritime rescue boat off the coast of Cartagena last Saturday.

In total five boats, carrying nearly 200 immigrants were intercepted along the Spanish coast in one day, over the Easter weekend.

Red Cross and health workers from the Murcian government treated six of the Algerian immigrants brought ashore in Cartagena for burn injuries received when the vessel carrying them caught fire out at sea.

The fire was caused by diesel coming into contact with sea water and one of the casualties was admitted to hospital for a chemical burn to his leg. Three of the rescued Algerians were minors, one of whom also suffered burns.

One other, a diabetic was also taken to hospital to receive medical treatment for controlling their condition, when the rescue vessel the ‘Salvamar Mimosa’ brought them ashore around 6.30am on Easter Saturday.

This incident brought the total of refugees trying to enter the country to 41 on the Murcian coastline in four days, since the previous Wednesday. Eleven of the rescued immigrants were classed as minors.

Elsewhere on Saturday, the Spanish coast guard was called in to save a total of 188 migrants who attempted to illegally cross the western Mediterranean from North Africa into Spain on four boats.

One of these boats was carrying 41 migrants, including five women and a baby, when it sent a mayday to the Spanish coast guard in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain’s state TV station reported.

The immigrants, from Sub-Saharan Africa, were moved to the southern city of Cadiz, according to the report.

A second carrying 33 people, including three women, went astray and its engine malfunctioned nearly 75 nautical miles to the south of Almeria city.

A fishing boat in the vicinity sent a radio signal to the Spanish navy on the incident and the navy responded promptly.

Another boat with 52 migrants on board faced trouble some 36 nautical miles from Motril town in the province of Granada. The migrants, all from Sub-Saharan Africa, were safely rescued.

Earlier in the day, 62 migrants were saved one mile from Barbate town, Cadiz province.

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