EFECeuta, Spain

Spanish marine rescue forces and Moroccan authorities together rescued 1,599 migrants during the first half of 2015 in the Strait of Gibraltar, as the passengers made their way to Spanish territory on shoddy vessels.

According to official statistics of Spain's marine rescue, its members rescued 507 people from 152 boats between January and June of 2015, while Morocco rescued 1,092 migrants in its territorial waters.

The number 1,599 represents a significant increase compared to 2014, in which 938 migrants were rescued in the same period.

The figure thus represents a 40 percent increase in those rescued by Spanish authorities, and a 42 percent increase for Morocco compared to the same period last year.

On Monday, it was revealed that between Jan. 1 and July 31, 2015, around 5,500 migrants entered the Spanish city of Melilla, accounting for nearly 95 percent of those who did in the entire year of 2014, which also set the city's all-time high immigration rate.

Representatives from the Center for Temporary Stay of Immigrants in Melilla told EFE that 5,000 of the 5,500 migrants who arrived in Melilla in the first 7 months of the year are of Syrian nationality, while just over 450 are from sub-Saharan Africa.