At least six dead in shipwreck off Melilla

Six would-be migrants have died and four are missing after their boat ran into trouble off the coast of the north-African Spanish enclave of Melilla.

The boat, carrying immigrants hoping to reach Spain, was carrying 20 passengers, ten of whom were rescued.

Six people died in the shipwreck and four remain unaccounted for, said Spanish national newspaper, El País.

The majority of the boat’s passengers were from Guinea, said NGO Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders). “Many of them teenagers,” the group said.

The shipwreck happened around six kilometres (3.7 miles) from the port of Nador, the closest Moroccan city to Melilla.

The area was experiencing bad weather on Friday, with ferry services between Melilla and mainland Spain suspended due to high winds. 

It is the first such event of 2015.

A total of 3,072 immigrants died in 2014 attempting to cross the Mediterranean to reach European coasts, according to figures released by the International Organization for Migration.

Their recent study shows that, since 2000, over 40,000 worldwide have died trying to illegally reach other countries, be that by sea or by land.

In mid January, two Cameroonian men were arrested for allegedly throwing as many as ten people overboard while travelling on a makeshift boat from Morocco in a bid to reach Spain in December.

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