The long queues and cars packed to the roof to cross the ports of southern Spain have returned.
On Wednesday, Spain and Morocco resumed Operation Crossing the Strait, the world's largest migration between two continents. The operation had been suspended since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the diplomatic crisis between Madrid and Rabat.
Nearly 16,000 officers of the Spanish Security Forces will participate until 15 September in the 33rd Operation Crossing the Strait to manage the transit of citizens of Maghreb origin between the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa.
The Spanish Ministry of the Interior coordinates the Special Plan in which the State Ports, the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine, the General Directorate of Public Health and the Red Cross also participate, among other institutions. In total, more than 22,000 professionals participate in the special operation, according to government figures.
The last Operation Crossing the Strait in 2019, before the pandemic, involved the movement of more than 3.3 million people and 760,000 vehicles.
Safety, health controls
The 2022 plan includes "the necessary measures for the development of the Operation with the objectives of guaranteeing fluidity and safety in traffic, as well as the prevention and protection of public health, with special attention to Covid-19 health controls," the Spanish Ministry of the Interior said in a statement.
Seven shipping companies participate in the Fleet Plan (Plan de Flota) to streamline movements between the two continents with 33 vessels for transporting people and vehicles.
"An extensive security operation will guarantee maximum fluidity in shipments and the safety of people," the Ministry stressed.
The health authorities and the Red Cross have taken some health care measures to meet any need arising from the high concentration of people and vehicles during the three months of the operation.
The General Directorate of Traffic has enabled two rest areas and seven information points duly marked and staffed.
The Border Information System has also been activated, with 1,768 cameras, which allows the arrival times of vehicles at ports to be predicted in advance.
2,428 panels deployed along the entire transit route in Spain will provide service information to all travellers.