The security threat from maritime piracy in the is assessed as LOW due to the absence of incidents in the Alboran Sea.
With regards to migrants and refugees, the Western Mediterranean route is only a minor route; therefore the likelihood of encountering migrants and refugees using this path to Europe is assessed as LOW.
There have been a total of 222,291 sea arrivals registered in Europe crossing the Mediterranean Sea as of 28 June 2016 and historically, the number of people trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea will increase during the summer months.
Migrants and refugees using the Western Mediterranean route often depart from Morocco heading to Spain, either via sea passage or using the land route through Ceuta and Melilla. Although migration in the Western Mediterranean Sea has increased in the last few years, it is still much lower than the Eastern and Central routes.
As of 30 April, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports 1,352 arrivals in Spain and 45 dead/missing, which is similar to the numbers from 2015 for the same timeframe.
The Western gateway is also a major drug trafficking route to Europe for cannabis and cocaine. Drug smugglers often use speedboats as well as small planes and helicopters. In response, the Spanish authorities have increased coastal patrols and installed a maritime surveillance system, used to detect and deter both the migrant flow from Africa and drug trafficking.
Note: Information cut-off date 30 June 2016.
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