POLICE have arrested two Algerian nationals after Maritime Rescue intercepted a rubber dinghy heading for the Almeria shore with 16 immigrants on board, one of them a woman.
The pair are accused of skippering the craft and face charges of crimes against the rights of foreign citizens.
Police investigations carried out with the support of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) established that the five-metre long boat has set out from the Aint Turk beach in Algeria in the early hours of the morning.
About a month earlier a criminal organisation had started to make contact with people in the North African country to offer them a place on the boat for 100,000 dinars, the equivalent of some €750.
They were told to show up without luggage or food and that the crossing to Spain would take about eight hours. The boat skippers also told the immigrants that if the boat were to be intercepted they were all to say they had taken it in turns on the boat’s navigation and orientation systems.
According to police however, it was either 25-year old M.E.F. or 21-year old M.A. who had been in charge of managing the motor and bailing out water from dinghy while the other one told him which in direction to go, guided by a compass.