Inflatable dinghies and tires used as floats by migrants are seen at the port of Tarifa, southern Spain, after being rescued by Spain's Maritime Rescue Service in the Strait of Gibraltar, Friday, June 29, 2018. European Union leaders declared victory Friday, claiming to have set aside major differences over how best to handle migrant arrivals as they commissioned new plans to screen people in North Africa for eligibility to enter Europe. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

The Latest: 9 detained after reaching Malta in motorboat

July 01, 2018 - 4:02 pm

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on mass migration to Europe (all times local):

8:35 p.m.

Police in Malta have detained nine people who traveled from Libya to the Mediterranean island nation in a motorboat, alleging they entered the country illegally.

Police said startled beachgoers in a popular seaside town alerted authorities on Sunday when they saw people from the boat carrying suitcases and dressed in winter clothes.

The police say the motorboat held seven Syrians, including a woman and a 7-year-old boy, and two Libyan men.

The adults were arrested and taken into custody for questioning.

Officials think it's the first known time that Europe-bound migrants have landed directly in Malta after crossing the sea from Africa in a motorboat. Most people coming from North Africa attempt the dangerous crossing on unseaworthy and overcrowded rafts or dinghies.

Malta last week allowed a humanitarian group's ship with 234 migrants who had been rescued in waters off Libya to dock after eight other nations agreed to take in some of the passengers.


5:40 p.m.

Spain's Maritime Rescue Service says it has picked up 160 people from five boats that were crossing a narrow stretch of the Mediterranean Sea from Northern Africa.

The rescue service says 57 migrants were rescued from three of the boats on Sunday morning and brought ashore in Tarifa, a town at the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula.

Another rescue vessel took 103 people from the other boats to Algeciras, a large port city to the east.

The number of people reaching Europe by the so-called Western Mediterranean land and sea route to Spain has surpassed boat arrivals to Italy this year.

The United Nations' International Organization for Migration says about 15,000 migrants have made it to Spain via the short but dangerous trip across the Strait of Gibraltar.

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