Spain rescues 10 migrants in Strait of Gibraltar

MADRID (AFP) - Spanish authorities on Monday rescued 10 African migrants crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in a rubber dinghy in another incident highlighting the perils of trying to enter Europe illegally, after last week's fatal shipwreck in Italian waters.

Rescue teams received a call in the morning from the dinghy transporting 10 men, all from sub-Saharan Africa, saying "they had left the Tangiers region (northern Morocco) at 1:00 am" local time, a spokesperson from the rescue services said.

The men were "apparently in good health", said the spokesperson, and were treated by Red Cross volunteers before being taken to detention centres.

The rubber dinghy was located 2.5 nautical miles off the coast of Tarifa, a small town opposite Gibraltar on the southernmost coast of Spain.

The drama faced by migrants trying to sail to Europe's shores has been pushed to the top of the political agenda after a boat carrying between 450 and 500 African asylum-seekers capsized last week off the remote Italian island of Lampedusa.

Divers there recovered another 17 bodies on Monday to bring the death toll so far from the tragedy to 211.

Spanish maritime rescue services picked up 1,396 migrants from boats off the coast of Spain between January 1 and September 16, compared to 1,709 during the same period last year.