In a response sent to Lusa, the Foreigners and Borders Service states that the 37 migrants, "allegedly from North Africa" and who were detected off Vila Real de Santo António, will be installed at the Naval Support Point in Portimão, where tests will be carried out for covid-19 and humanitarian assistance will be guaranteed, “in particular the basic needs of food and medical assistance”.
SEF states that, together with the Coastal Control Unit of the Republican National Guard and the Public Security Police, they are developing “all the procedures foreseen in these situations”, in conjunction with the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority.
SEF also states that, later, “all the necessary steps to assess the situation and promote the appropriate measures to the case” will be carried out.
The commander of the Zona Marítima do Sul told Lusa that the Navy today rescued 37 men from a vessel that was sailing in international waters, south of the Algarve.
According to Fernando Rocha Pacheco, the vessel was sighted by a merchant ship at the end of the day on Wednesday, with Navy resources having been transferred to the location, which earlier this morning approached the crew.
Upon sighting the Navy, the men "asked for help", ending up being collected in international waters, 37 nautical miles south of the Algarve coast, in the Atlantic strip corresponding to an area between Vila Real de Santo António and Tavira.
According to the commander of the Southern Maritime Zone, the nationality of the crew has not yet been verified, but it is suspected that they are Moroccans, which will be investigated after inquiries to be conducted by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).
Over the past two years, the Algarve coast has received several illegal landings by Moroccan migrants.