Cruise Ship Rescues 68 Migrants Adrift Off Canary Islands

A cruise ship, the Insignia, rescued 68 people from a distressed fishing boat adrift off the Canary Islands, Oceania Cruises announced Thursday. Near the end of a 180-day global voyage, the Insignia received a distress call and promptly intervened between Cape Verde and Tenerife. The rescued individuals were provided with medical assistance, food, drinks, clothing, and a safe place to rest. Coordination with Tenerife authorities ensured further care for the migrants.

Henry Tom, a passenger from Vancouver, Canada, detailed the two-hour rescue operation, noting that five people on the fishing boat had died. The Associated Press reported that the Insignia’s crew recovered three of the five bodies despite challenging weather conditions. The boat, a small pirogue, was initially spotted by an oil tanker, prompting authorities to divert the Insignia for the rescue.

The rescued migrants, believed to be from Senegal, had been at sea for 20 to 30 days. Passengers onboard the Insignia donated shoes and clothing to assist them. Spain has seen a significant increase in sea arrivals, with 55,618 migrants reaching the Canary Islands last year, nearly double the number from 2022. So far, over 23,000 migrants have arrived in 2024, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry.

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