Maritime rescue crew assists migrant boat

Maritime rescue crew assists migrant boat
Africans hoping to make their home in Europe are tended by Red Cross staff. Photo: Desiree Martin/AFP
Spanish authorities on Sunday intercepted a wooden fishing boat packed with 32 illegal immigrants, including a woman and her baby, which was trying to make landfall off the coast of Cadiz, a maritime rescue services spokesman said.

A maritime rescue service ship made contact with the boat off the coast of the province of Cadiz and took the would-be immigrants to the port of Tarifa, he said.

The 32 passengers of the fishing boat, including the woman and her child, appeared to be in good health, the spokesman added.

The maritime rescue service was alerted to the presence of the boat after one of the migrants called Spanish emergency services to ask for help because the vessel's motor had stopped working.

Thousands of people from Africa regularly attempt to cross from Morocco into Spain on makeshift boats each year.

Authorities fear many of those who attempt the crossing by sea die of thirst, hunger or exposure.