Tag: patera

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

Centre-Right Pact Between Regionalists (CC) And Resident Conservatives (PPAV) Returns Marco Aurelio Perez As Southern Mayor

The conservative Partido Popular-Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) and the right of centre regionalist Coalición Canaria (CC) have this Thursday signed a local government pact that will shape the future of the southern Gran Canaria tourism municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The alliance, dubbed a “Pact for Stability and Socioeconomic Progress of San Bartolomé Tirajana”, represents 60% of the votes cast in the municipality’s recent local elections, emphasised the  mayor-elect, Marco Aurelio Pérez (PP-AV), who returns for the third time to lead the local council responsible for some of the most important tourism areas on the island, including Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés and San Agustín.



Local Government Coalition Agreement Maspalomas and the South of Gran Canaria

A governing coalition pact has been finalised in San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The Popular Party–Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) conservative residents party is to join forces with regionalist centre-right Coalición Canaria (CC) to govern the main tourist municipality on Gran Canaria for the next four years. Marco Aurelio Pérez will serve as mayor for the entire four-year term, and the Popular Party will take charge of Employment, Sports, Roads and Infrastructure, and Human Resources, among other areas. The regionalists, led by Alejandro Marichal, will oversee Urban Planning, Economy and Finance, and Tourism as their main departments.



Storm Óscar Latest: Government of the Canary Islands Declares Rain Alert for Western Islands and Gran Canaria

A storm system, dubbed Óscar, has formed over the last few days over the mid-north Atlantic, unusual for this time of year, and has led to concern from meteorologists and journalists as it passes south of the Azores, its tail should reach The Canary Islands, before the system heads northeast towards mainland Spain.  Advisory warnings have been issued in expectation of heavy rainfall, primarily in the Western Isles of the Canary Islands Archipelago, though some rainfall is also expected to reach Gran Canaria over the next couple of days.  It seems unlikely that any major consequences will stem from the bad weather, however these things can be unpredictable and so every precaution is taken to ensure people are informed and kept safe.



Foundation Investigated for Alleged Mismanagement of Public Funds Meant for Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors

The 7th Investigative Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has opened a preliminary investigation into the Social Response Foundation Siglo XXI and four of its directors. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Las Palmas filed a complaint against them, alleging crimes that could include forgery of commercial documents, mismanagement, and embezzlement of public funds. The investigation aims to determine whether this nonprofit organisation, and its officials, could have misused public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied migrant minors, during the migration crisis of 2020 that was precipitated by the pandemic confinement on the islands, leading to a build up of arrivals having to be assessed and cared for by the Canary Islands Regional Government, using hotels left empty due to the lack of tourism. The estimated amount involved in the alleged misuse stands at around €12.5 million between 2020 and 2022 on Gran Canaria alone.



Canary Islands Expect Rain and Potential Storm Weather Next Week

The Canary Islands are preparing for a change in the weather next week, as a significant increase in cloud is expected bringing higher probability of rain. The effects of a powerful storm forming in the Atlantic Ocean are likely to extend to the Canary Islands as well as neighbouring Madeira and The Azores.




47 migrants rescued 10 miles south of Gran Canaria, all of sub-saharan origins

Another boat adrift in the Atlantic was rescued this morning south of Gran Canaria, report sources from Spain’s Salvamento Maritimo (Marine Rescue) and Red Cross .
The patera (open boat) with 47 migrants on board was rescued in the early hours of this morning, at sea to the south of Gran Canaria, by the Salvamento Marítimo and transferred to the south of the island, a spokesman for the emergency service reported.

The boat was located by the Guardia Civil’s Integrated External Surveillance System (SIVE) at around 02:20, about 10 miles south of the island.

Salvamar Maritime Rescue vessel, The Talia, was deployed and reached the small boat about an hour later, moving the occupants on board to safety and towed the boat to the port of Arguineguín where they arrived at around 4:30 a.m.
Once there, they were treated by the Red Cross and one of them had to be transferred to a hospital centre, say sources from the NGO.
After being treated and assessed, the migrants are handed over to the National Police, who will ensure their quarantine as a result of the coronavirus risk,  Red Cross sources have reported.

This adds to the more than 2,200 migrants to have been rescued so far in 2020, representing a more than 8 fold increase in the total, reaching The Canary Islands, over this time last year.  As the mediterranean routes have all but shut down, so the Canary Islands Atlantic routes appear this year to have become a primary target for the people smuggling gangs operating out of West Africa and Western Sahara.  Calls for a serious increase in resources have been made on the Spanish government as the crises continue to grow, in parallel with the continuing State of Emergency declared over Corona Virus.
We need more resources available to help people on the ground here, and more efforts need to be made to support community development in countries of origin, and to discourage and stem the flow of migrants risking their lives and what little they have in these desperate attempts to escape abject poverty. How many do not get rescued at all? These are indeed difficult days.

The Canary News


Rescued migrant confirmed as corona virus carrier, one other suspected on Fuerteventura

It was confirmed last night that one of the 86 migrants who arrived on the south coast of Gran Canaria last Tuesday has tested positive for coronavirus. The person has been isolated from the rest of the combined group who were spotted in two pateras before being moved to Arguineguín port for health checks, and then immediately confined on a ship in the capital’s main port of Las Palmas the Puerto de La Luz.
Another foreign citizen, who also arrived that same day on Fuerteventura on a similar boat, has too been separated from that group due to the possibility that he is also a carrier of the Covid-19, although, the sources have indicated, it they have not yet been confirmed as positive.
The Ministry of Health is carrying out mass testing on all foreigners who arrive on the islands irregularly by sea in this manner.  An 8 fold increase has been recorded in migrants attempting to reach the islands via this maritime route from the African coast this year. All who arrive from abroad are obliged to spend a minimum 14-days in quarantine, just like any tourists who arrive from outside Spain during the State of Emergency, and indeed any Spanish citizens returning from abroad.
The mandatory quarantine order has been in place since May 15, ordered by the Ministry of Health, and is expected to last at least until July. Since then, at least four migrants have tested positive for corona virus, three adult males and one child, all of whom have been separated from the rest of the occupants of the four boats on which they arrived to the Archipelago.


Newsbrief: Twenty-six new boat people arrive on south of Gran Canaria

Twenty-six people, apparently of Maghrebi and Subsaharan origin, half of them minors, were discovered coming ashore on Saturday afternoon, May 4, from a patera (open boat), which had possibly come from the Maghreb region, landing between the beaches of Meloneras and Pasito Blanco on the south coast of Gran Canaria, according to a report from the Red Cross, none needed medical attention.
The vessel was detected shortly before 7:00 pm near Meloneras beach, in the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, when the main 112 Canarian Government Centre for Security and Emergency Coordination mobilized and deployed various emergency and security services offer humanitarian assistance the occupants, who had been witnessed dispersing as soon as they made land fall, before security services were able to locate them and assess their situation.
They were provided blankets, dry clothes and food, without it being necessary to transfer any of them to medical centres.


152 migrants rescued 200 nautical miles south of Maspalomas

photo : salvamento maritimo
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.

Federation of African Associations in the Canary Islands warn of likely increase in people trafficking

The Federation of African Associations in the Canary Islands has warned that arrivals of irregular immigrants to the Islands could be on the increase, which it considers to be a symptom of a diversion towards the Atlantic by those who seek to leave the African continent and find it increasingly difficult to do so via the Mediterranean. “We are seeing how cayucos [small, unseaworthy boats] have returned carrying 60, 80 and up to 100 people”, in what they see as a return to “the year 2006”, according to the secretary general, Teodoro Bondyale, who maintains that this fact shows that the route of entry to Europe through the archipelago is becoming active again, contrary to what local authorities say.
Bondyale went on to remark that “to say that there is no revival of immigration is denying the evidence,” warning that “in the Canary Islands we must be prepared” for a future increase in the irregular flow of Africans in precarious vessels that, in his opinion, could reach the significant numbers that were witnessed just over a decade ago. He insisted that proof of this is that, after several years in which only small boats with groups of a few dozen or less people have been arriving sporadically to the archipelago, last Thursday  a cayuco carrying 103 immigrants on board was rescued and a few weeks earlier, on October 17, another one in which 95 were travelling.
Bondyale attributed these arrivals to the circumstance that “people smugglers are opting to resort to other routes because the most used [route] of recent times have been closing, which was the Mediterranean route.”
Several factors have combined, such as increased control of waters and borders by the countries of destination, leading traffickers to try to find other ways to escape from Africa to Europe, but also “abuse” to which the black population is subjected, has increased especially in territories through which they must pass, as in the case of Libya.
The secretary general of the organization said that this territory has become the scene of “an unacceptable drama, the return to slavery practices of other centuries,” that the Federation of African Associations in the Canary Islands “wants to denounce, giving voice to victims without voice who are suffering, “said his representative.
International intervention
Theodore Bondyale stressed the purpose of his federation is to “protest and call for intervention by the African Union, the United Nations and international organisations for the defence of Human Rights” in a situation in which it considers that the institutions and European media “are maintaining an accomplices silence”. While reiterating his demand to act in aid of those who are victims of what happens in Libya, he stressed that Africans living in the Canaries believe it necessary to urge public authorities to take measures to face the potential increase that they predict.
Above all, Bondyale criticised the authorities for the inadequate treatment they understand is given to those who are detained once on land, which, he said, includes being “locked in inhumane conditions in detention centres such as Barranco Seco de Gran Canaria, where they live next to a police kennel and must endure the nauseating smell of a neighbouring sewage works. ” The situation is even worse in other parts of Spain in which the authorities “skip the Foreigner Act, like in Málaga, where immigrants who have recently arrived in Spain are being held in a prison that was not even opened yet” , He said.
Teodoro Bondyale Oko (Muni River, Equatorial Guinea, 1951). He has been in Spain for almost 50 years. He is a nurse, sociologist and graduate in Political Sciences, activist for democracy in his native country, Equatorial Guinea, secretary of the Federation of African Associations in the Canary Islands (FAAC) ( http: // federacion-aac. Blogspot.com.es / ) and member of the platform that questions the Spanish health policy towards immigrants. He taught classes in Health sociology for nurses at the Insular Hospital and at the Juan Carlos I Hospital, both in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Disrupted: People trafficking network that brought hundreds of sub-Saharans to the Canary Islands

An investigation by the National Police initiated in 2014 has led to the dismantling of an active criminal organization dedicated to encouraging irregular immigration of sub-Saharan citizens from El Aaiún (Disputed Territory of Western Sahara) to the Canary Islands, by means of pateras (wooden open boats).
Two of the ringleaders have been arrested in Moroccan territory by the Gendarmerie of the Kingdom of Morocco under an International Order of Detention issued by Telde’s Court of Instruction number three in Las Palmas. More than 1,500 interviews with immigrants who arrived in boats and hundreds of hours of investigation have also led to the arrest and conviction of 30 people in Spanish territories, responsible for manning the various vessels in which immigrants were transferred. Several of those arrested have been charged with crimes of reckless homicide for the deaths of eight immigrants during one of the voyages.
§ Image: CC 2.0 By Rui Ornelas
Senegalese man at the helm of the organization in Western Sahara
The investigations began in 2014, when agents detected the setting up of a criminal organization in Laayoune (the Spanish name for the city) that little by little engaged exclusively in the illegal traffic of immigrants from that zone to the Canary Islands. With more than 1,500 illegal immigrants interviewed, agents collected evidence that, together with other information, allowed them to piece together a puzzle that took them to a man of Senegalese origin.
Taking advantage of his numerous administrative and police records on file in the El Aaiún, a picture built up of this individual’s organisation progressively absorbing the rest of the criminal networks that operated in the area, eventually control the illegal business almost exclusively.
In March 2015 a patera carrying 13 immigrants of sub-Saharan origin who had been adrift for five days, without food and water and with a broken engine, was rescued – a few miles to the southwest of Gran Canaria. After the first interviews with the survivors it was concluded that at least 8 people had died, whose bodies had to be thrown overboard. These statements confirmed that the man of Senegalese origin previously investigated had organised this boat.
Image: Patera CC2.0 by Diego López Román
Between €500 and €3,000 each to reach the Canarian coast
Progress in the investigation allowed the police to identify the most prominent members of the organisation, to specify their functions, locating ‘safe houses’ and vehicles used and to figure out the amounts paid by the immigrants, ranging from €500 to €3,000 each for the illegal trip.
In addition to this, it was possible to establish contact with people who travelled aboard the boats, managing to put them safely in coordination with the Salvamento Maritimo, Maritime Rescue, to act as informants. In other cases rescue was not possible: one of the pateras suffered an accident near the Moroccan coast, drowning several of the immigrants, some of them children. In the same way, at least 4 pateras have been documented by members of this organisation to have suffered some type of accident, with almost 150 people missing, including several minors.
Monopoly of illegal traffic in the area
At its beginnings, the criminal organization coexisted with other criminal groups dedicated to the same illegal activity although they barely managed to succeed in actually getting immigrants to the Canaries, sometimes due to the actions of the authorities in Western Sahara and other times due to altercations between the organised bands themselves. The effectiveness of this disarticulated organisation allowed them to acquire such fame that they ended up driving their competitors out of business, forcing them to disappear and thereby taking over and monopolising the business of illegal people trafficking in the area.
The organization’s reach even extended to sub-Saharan immigrants who traveled from northern Morocco to Laayoune after having already failed in previous attempts to reach the Andalusian coast or been stopped jumping the Melilla fence, offering passage and a further attempt to those victims of human trafficking.
With the arrest of 32 people, 30 of whom have already entered prison, this operation is being seen as the dismantling of one of the most important criminal organisation at this time dedicated to the promotion of illegal immigration to the Canary Islands.
Source: La Provincia