The Latest: Spain rescues 650 migrants, finding dead woman
MADRID (AP) — The Latest on migration into Europe (all times local):
Spanish officials say they have rescued about 650 migrants from 16 boats crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe, finding one dead woman among them.
Officials rescue services told Spanish private news agency Europa Press on Friday the woman was with about 50 other people encountered on a boat, whose owner was taken into custody.
The rescues occurred Thursday in the so-called Alboran Sea, east of the Strait of Gibraltar. Spanish authorities pulled three bodies from the sea there on Wednesday.
The Mediterranean is a deadly route for migrants trying to enter Europe illegally, with at least 1,857 deaths recorded so far this year.
The Geneva-based International Organization for Migration said last month that 45,145 men, women and children entered Spain through the western Mediterranean route through Oct. 21 — more than in the previous three years combined.
The German government says Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Morocco for a Dec. 10 conference meant to approve a U.N.-backed migration pact that is drawing strong opposition from nationalists in Europe and elsewhere.
Government spokeswoman Martina Fietz announced Merkel’s attendance on Friday, a day after the German parliament approved a motion endorsing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and emphasizing that the non-binding agreement doesn’t change German law.
That motion passed 372-153, with 141 abstentions. The pact has been opposed loudly by the far-right Alternative for Germany and also has drawn reservations from some in Merkel’s conservative bloc.
Several countries, including the United States, Hungary, Austria, Israel and Poland, have said that they won’t back the accord, to be approved at the conference in Marrakech.
A Spanish humanitarian aid organization says it has put a medical team aboard a fishing vessel stranded at sea for a week after it rescued 12 migrants in the Mediterranean.
Open Arms said in a tweet Friday the medics are giving check-ups to the migrants, two of whom it described as minors.
The plight of the Nuestra Senora de Loreto trawler has deepened in recent days, with the Spanish government saying it is concerned about the lack of food and fuel on board amid worsening weather.
The Spanish government is trying to persuade Italy or Malta to let it dock. Those countries have rejected the appeal because the rescue took place in Libyan waters.
European Union countries have been at odds over who should take in migrants from North Africa.