The Salvamento Maritimo (maritime rescue) vessel Guardamar Talía rescued the occupants of an open boat, some 200 nautical miles (370.4km) south of Maspalomas de Gran Canaria over the weekend and set course for the island, according to the Maritime rescue twitter account, after the free floating vessel was located by the Sasemar 103 Search and Rescue plane, based out of Gando air base.
In total 152 people were rescued from the boat, of them 3 were women and 3 children. All are in apparent good health. The Guardamar Talía arrived at Arguineguín harbour with those rescued on Monday morning.
The port of origin is still unknown. This is the first time in a decade that a single boat with so many occupants has arrived to the Canary Islands.
Rescue teams are also looking for another boat with about twenty migrants on board, who disappeared on the high seas south of the archipelago after leaving Mauritania. If found it would become the third such vessel to arrive on the Canary coasts in less than a week, after this Saturday another boat also arrived at Tías, Lanzarote, with a score of occupants on board.
Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of subsaharan Africans attempt the perilous journey across the 160km or so that separate these islands from our nearest continental neighbours. They are often brought some of the way by ship and then launched into the open ocean, in a haphazard, and clearly desperate bid to try and reach this archipelago, and thereby the most southerly shores of Europe. It is not known how many poor unfortunate souls never make landfall… the lucky ones are spotted and rescued, the others are left to the unrelenting currents of the Atlantic.