208 migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa were rescued by the Spanish coastguard as they attempted to make the crossing from Africa to Spain, rescue services announced on Thursday.
The coastguard said the migrants were found in three rafts in the Alboran Sea, between northeastern Morocco and southeastern Spain on Wednesday afternoon, after which they were taken to Almeria and Malaga.
According to data released by the Interior Ministry, about 18,018 migrants have arrived in Spain so far by August this year, a decrease of 39% from the same period last year.
United Nations data shows irregular sea arrivals from the Middle East and North Africa to EU dropped from over 1 million in 2015 to some 141,500 people last year while nearly 15,000 people are estimated to have died or gone missing in the perilous sea voyage.
This rescue comes at a time when Spain is preparing for the arrival of 15 migrants from an Italian port. Those migrants are Spain-bound following a prolonged standoff between Italian authorities and a Spanish-registered private rescue boat.