Boatload of migrants stun Spanish sunbathers

WATCH: African refugees 'forced off' boats near Yemen coast

"We assume that some of the change is due to the fact that the route [to Spain] is considered a safe route up to the coast through Morocco", Joel Millman, a senior IOM spokesman, said.

Local reports said most of the men were Moroccan, although video footage taken by tourists appeared to show the majority of the men were sub-Saharan Africans.

In contrast, some 13,200 migrants came to Greece this year - more than 11,700 of whom arrived by sea - down from 176,906 in total the previous year.

While migrants often camp in crowded tent ghettos upon arrival, a great many disperse throughout Western Europe over a period of time.

Spain witnessed a threefold increase in refugees entering the country using the sea-route this year, when compared to the same period last year, the United Nations migration agency said Friday.

At least 121 refugees lost their lives while trying to reach Spain by sea this year, compared to 97 last year, the IOM said.

The International Organization for Migration says 8,385 migrants have reached Spain by sea so far this year, more than double the number from the same period last year.

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'If so, that's a big change'.

He added that the boats crossing the choppy sea to Spain were much smaller than those launching from Libya to Italy.

The next day, about 700 other migrants from Africa tried unsuccessfully to storm the border crossing between Morocco and Ceuta, a tiny Spanish enclave on Africa's northwest tip.

The migrants were eventually rounded up and taken to a reception centre, where they can apply for asylum in Spain.

Faced with the number of recent entry attempts, authorities in Ceuta have chose to close the border for trade for over a week, to allow guards to better man the fence.

A first attempt by about 1,000 people to cross with sticks and hand-made spears was foiled by police from the two countries.

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