Photo: AMN

Thirteen Moroccan migrants flee police after yet another illegal boat arrives in Algarve

Authorities are searching for 13 migrants “of Moroccan origin” believed to have arrived by boat illegally in the Algarve on Monday.

The migrants were part of a larger group of 16 people, three of whom were detained by PSP police in Vila Real de Santo António yesterday.

Their boat was found on Monday morning at a beach in Vila Real de Santo António with “some supplies inside” as well as fuel. Reports Correio da Manhã tabloid, maritime police initially believed that the boat had been used by drug traffickers.

But the realisation that this was another case of illegal migration came shortly after maritime police alerted other police forces (GNR, PSP and SEF), CM adds.

Three of the migrants were tracked down hours later in VRSA and informed authorities that they were part of a larger group of 16 people.

SEF border police and PJ criminal police are investigating and trying to track down the remaining migrants.

This is the seventh boat from the north of Africa to arrive illegally on the Algarve’s shore since December 2019.

Out of the 98 people who arrived, 66 requested asylum, but only nine – including two minors – were granted it.

The International Organisaton for Migration (IOM) has been reluctant to admit that Portugal is a new entryway for illegal migration.

“It is not possible to speculate if a new or significant route is going to emerge in Europe. The numbers are very small and it is too early to say. How this will develop in the future depends on several factors, including how the authorities (of Morocco and Portugal) will react,” a spokesperson has told Expresso newspaper.

Portugal’s Secretary of State for Integration and Migrations, Cláudia Pereira, has also remained cautious.

“Fewer than 100 people have arrived. I know they had a lot of media exposure, but they are fewer than 100, which does not allow us to know if this is a new migratory pattern. We do not even have the data to understand if they wanted to come to Portugal or head to other countries from Portugal. More than half requested asylum,” she told Lusa news agency.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com