THE number of young unaccompanied stowaways reaching Almeria port is on the rise, according to the Guardia Civil.
In October Guardia officers assisted 31 people trying to reach Spanish territory, eight of them children travelling alone, as vehicles and passengers disembarked from ferries coming from North Africa.
This brought the total number of stowaways intercepted at Almeria port while trying to slip into Spain so far this year to 117. Many were hidden among luggage or goods, or inside vehicles.
In August however one man jumped overboard while the ferry were docking.
It was about an hour before officers were finally able to pull him to safety and onto the boat Rio Jiloca as he fought against being rescued. When they did get him onto dry land he immediately tried to run off, the boat captain suffering a minor injury to his arm as he stopped the stowaway from launching himself back into the sea.
The Guardia said particularly concerning was the number of youngsters risking their lives by concealing themselves underneath lorries, inside wheel arches, and even inside vehicle engines, which have been located by sniffer dogs and subsequently given assistance.