21 migrants were intercepted by the Olhão Coastal Control Detachment (of the GNR) on the Ilha do Farol beach in a vessel”, said the GNR General Command. According to the General Command of the police, the Olhão Coastal Control Detachment took over the occurrence.
Contacted by Lusa, the commander of this detachment, captain Nuno Marinho, said that the vessel used by this group "was already in the sand" when the authorities arrived at the site and that the migrants, "apparently Moroccan", were "in the vicinity of the beach”, having been “intercepted at dismount”.
GNR searched the area and questioned "other people who were in the area", to see if there were more elements of this group that had not yet been intercepted.
Asked where these 21 men would spend the night, Nuno Marinho said that migrants go to “an Olhanense pavilion”, where they will also “be subjected to medical screening” and then go on to test for the presence of the new coronavirus. On 23 July, the migrants "will be handed over" to the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), which "will continue with the other due diligence," he added.
The “wooden” vessel on which the group travelled was “similar” to others that had previously reached the Algarve coast, said the commander of the Coastal Control Detachment in Olhão.
“It had a backup engine (in addition to the engine that was used to transport the group to the Portuguese coast), mobile phones (in the interior) and a lot of food,” explained Captain Nuno Marinho, adding that it was “overcrowded”.
In a statement, the GNR said that the 21 men were detected and intercepted by 7.45pm. The SEF clarified, however, through a note, that the migrants are "from North Africa", and that "basic needs, including food, health care and accommodation" were guaranteed.
Testing for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 “will also be ensured this evening”, explains the SEF, adding that, on 22 July, “all necessary steps will be taken to assess the situation and promote appropriate measures to the case.”
Migrants "are currently in custody" of GNR and SEF, adds the note from the Olhão Coastal Control Detachment.
In June, two groups of migrants also landed in the Algarve. A vessel with a group of seven migrants, allegedly of Moroccan origin, landed off Olhão. Another vessel, this time with 22 migrants from North Africa, was intercepted when people were preparing to disembark at Vale do Lobo Beach, in the Algarve. In January, another group of 11 migrants had arrived on the Algarve coast, preceded by a vessel with eight men, in December 2019.