Seven boats with migrants were rescued by the Spanish maritime services in the Alboran Sea, the westernmost part of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain's Europa Press news agency said, citing Maritime Safety and Rescue Society which operates in Spain.
All in all, 172 people, including seven children, were rescued and transported to the nearby port city of Almeria.
According to the agency, five more boats with migrants were intercepted in the Strait of Gibraltar. The boats were carrying 219 people, all of them from North Africa, who were later sent to the port city of Algeciras. In addition, a small boat with three migrants on board was intercepted near the city of Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on the northern coast of the African continent.
Europe has been hit by its worst migrant crisis since World War II. It started in 2015 and reached its peak just a couple of years later, but it has recently shown signs of slowing down. Despite this, the migration issue remains a stumbling block for the European Union as it has no proper system to regulate the distribution of refugees rescued in the Mediterranean.
Spain, Italy and Greece are the most affected countries as they serve as the main 'safe heavens' for undocumented migrants who reach Europe by sea.