The Body Collector of Spain

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The Body Collector of Spain
Image: Pixabay

The Body Collector of Spain. Martín Zamora has an unenviable job. He ensures that migrants who die at sea make it home to their families.

Zamora owns the Southern Funeral Assistance mortuary in Algeciras. The funeral parlour is located near Gibraltar. He makes his living returning the bodies of people who drowned as they headed for a new life in Europe.

According to The New York Times, Zamora has helped return the bodies of more than 800 people over the last two decades. Many of these people have ended up being washed ashore.

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Spain has seen a record year for migrant drownings. The year is not even over yet. Recently Zamora has been able to figure out the identity of another unclaimed body.

The body belongs to a mechanic from Tangier called Achraf Ameer. Zamora has been able to contact his family using WhatsApp. He will be able to return the young man’s body to his family. However, it will cost the family dearly.

Zamora told The New York Times: “Sometimes, I get the feeling that some years ahead — in 30, 40, 50 years, I don’t know how many — they will look at us like monsters,”


“They’ll see us all as monsters because we just let people die this way.”

Zamora often has to fight with officials in Spain. He needs them to hand over the bodies so that he can prepare them and return them to their families. Zamora hopes that his work could bring closure to families who have lost their loved ones.


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Alex Glenn is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News. Formerly she worked in the NHS for 15 years until relocating to Spain in 2018. She loves the Spanish lifestyle, language and culture and spent several years learning Spanish before moving to Spain for a better quality of life. She has made her home in the mountains in Almeria, where she loves being part of a rural community that has a mix of both expats and Spanish residents. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading and exploring the area where she lives.

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