Spain to ban speedboats used by drug, migrant traffickers

MADRID (AP) — The Spanish government is moving to ban the high-speed semi-inflatable boats used by traffickers to bring both drugs and migrants across the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain from North Africa.

Police in Spain have identified groups of African migrants arriving in the rubber inflatable boats, known as RIB or “narcoboats,” which have previously been used to ship stashes of marijuana resin, or hash, from Morocco.

Government spokeswoman Isabel Celaa announced Friday the boat ban will be passed as a decree rather than as a law, shortening procedures for its approval by parliament.

Such boats can make it across the Strait of Gibraltar, where Africa and Europe are closest, in less than an hour. They are one of the reasons the Western Mediterranean route has become migrants’ main entry point into Europe this year.

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