Spain to ban speedboats used by drug, migrant traffickers

FILE - In this March 3, 2018 file photo, a speedboat with boxes of alleged drug cargo onboard speeds along the coast of La Linea de la Conception, in Cadiz province, south of Spain. The Spanish government said on Friday Oct. 26, 2018 that it will move faster in banning high-speed semi-inflatable boats used by drug trafficking mafias after learning that they also take migrants from northern Africa.(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)

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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