Jan. 2 (UPI) -- The Spanish Maritime Safety Agency on Wednesday rescued 214 African migrants attempting to reach Europe from Morocco, a day after rescuing 111 others.
A total of 164 migrants were rescued Wednesday from three small boats in the Alboran Sea, in the southwest Mediterranean Sea, while another 50 were pulled from waters in the Strait of Gibraltar, a representative of the agency told UPI.
Rescue ships were responding to reports of another packed boat around 5 p.m. local time in the Alboran.
On Tuesday, 111 African migrants were rescued in three small boats, two of them in the Alboran carrying 96 migrants, and another in the Gibraltar carrying 15.
They were found in small, open-top fishing vessels known as pateras. Many were transported to the port of Almeria. All originated in Morocco.
A total 111,558 migrants and refugees had entered Europe by sea in 2018 through Dec. 16, the International Organization for Migration said.
Last year was the fifth straight year that the arrival of irregular migrants and refugees to Europe topped 100,000, the organization said.
While other parts of southern Europe have tightened restrictions on African immigrants, Spain has continued to receive them. .
Last week, Spain took in a humanitarian organization's ship carrying over 300 migrants rescued from Libyan waters. Other, closer European countries, including Italy and Malta, refused them.