Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Wednesday that the passenger ferry, which was travelling from the Spanish exclave of Melilla – on the north coast of Africa – and Motril in southern Spain, intercepted the migrant boat on Wednesday in the Alboran Sea, the western part of the Mediterranean, the paper reported.
According to El Pais, 27 people were found onboard, but Spain’s rescue services were alerted by an NGO that a total of 49 people had set off from Morocco’s Alhucemas.
The paper cited survivors as saying that the missing people died in the attempted crossing and were thrown overboard.
In recent years, Morocco has emerged as a gateway for thousands of Africans seeking to reach Europe via Spain.
Nearly 117,000 migrants made dangerous boat journeys across the entire Mediterranean in 2018, 55,700 fewer than in 2017.