El Jadida (الجديد) is a port-city located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The crossing by sea from El Jadida to The Algarve in the southernmost part of Portugal’s mainland, takes approximately forty to fifty hours. The first registered crossing took place in 2007, when a group of twenty-three Moroccan nationals landed in Culatra Island, in Olhão. After informed by local fishers of the landing, the Portuguese authorities proceeded to arrest the migrants.
Since December 2019, seven boats have departed from Morocco and landed in Algarve (Portugal). As a result, the migrants’ arrival has been actively on the political agenda. This chronology aims to provide a complete and informative overview on the matter through a description of all the relevant events that have occurred from December 2019 to March 2021.
The practice of accusing non-governmental organizations of aiding illegal migration, by rescuing and delivering them to a place of safety, has become frequent in recent years. This raises the question of whether rendering assistance to smuggled migrants falls under the duty to render assistance at sea or under the scope of the definition of smuggling of migrants.