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Two young migrants cross Straits of Gibraltar to Spain on truck tyre

Spanish authorities have registered more than 11,000 unaccompanied minors arriving so far this year, up from 6,414 in all of 2017
Strait of Gibraltar from Tarifa, Spain, where cold, storms and fog have not stopped migrants crossing from Morocco (AFP)

Two young migrants on Saturday were rescued off the coast of Spain after crossing the Straits of Gibraltar on a truck tyre, the Spanish coastguard said.

The pair was saved following "a call from Morocco to the Spanish sea rescue centre warning that two minors were floating on a lorry tyre in the Bay of Algeciras," a coastguard spokesman was cited by AFP as saying.

"We mobilised a rescue vessel and warned all the boats in the area. A ferry called us to say that they had spotted them," he added.

Spain's maritime rescue service said it appeared the two had set out from Morocco, AP reported. The Strait of Gibraltar is 14km (eight miles) wide at its narrowest point.

The migrants, whose age or nationalities were not immediately known, were taken to the port of Algeciras.

Increasing numbers of Moroccans and sub-Saharan migrants have been seeking to enter Spain, either by sea or by smuggling themselves into the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which are in Morocco and the only European territories in Africa.

The International Organization for Migration says that about 51,000 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea this year and that more than 743 have died or gone missing trying.

Authorities have registered more than 11,000 unaccompanied minors arriving so far this year, up from 6,414 in all of 2017, AP said.