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4 Sep, 2007 19:38

Russians rescue 39 off W. African coast

A tanker with a Russian crew has rescued a group of illegal immigrants en route to the Canary Islands from West Africa. A boat with 39 passengers on board – mostly illegal immigrants – began to sink when its engine stopped halfway th

Dominique Molard, a French journalist who was onboard to report for a German TV-channel made an SOS call. A tanker with Russian crew managed to respond.
“There was a little bit of panic onboard, and they all were jumping from one side as the boat has almost capsized and took more water in. It was complicated to ask them not to panic and to stay sitting until one by one they could climb this ladder,” Mr Molard reports.
Later the survivors were taken to the Western Sahara port of Dakhla.
But even if they had reached Canary Islands, it's unlikely they'd have been able to stay for long. Under a 2006 agreement between Spain and some African countries, illegal immigrants found on the Canary Islands will be immediately repatriated.