At least 300 people traveling on three migrant boats from Senegal to Spain’s Canary Islands are missing, migrant aid group Walking Borders said on Sunday.
Two boats, one carrying about 65 people and the other with between 50 and 60 on board, have been missing for 15 days since they left Senegal to try to reach Spain, Helena Maleno of Walking Borders told Reuters.
The third boat left Senegal on June 27 with about 200 people on board.
The families of the passengers have not heard from them since they left, Maleno said.
All three boats left Kafountine in the south of Senegal, which is about 1,700 kilometers (1,057 miles) from Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands.
“Families are very worried. There are about 300 people from the same area in Senegal. They left because of the instability in Senegal,” said Maleno.
The Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa have become the main destination for migrants trying to reach Spain, with a smaller number also seeking to cross the Mediterranean Sea to mainland Spain. Summer is the busiest time for all attempted crossings.
The Atlantic migration route, one of the deadliest in the world, is mainly used by migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. At least 559 people – including 22 children – died in 2022 trying to reach the Canary Islands, according to data from the UN’s International Organization for Migration.