May 30, 2019

Nine Spanish Ports Prepare for The Annual “Operation Paso del Estrecho”

OPE 2019, or Operation Paso del Estrecho, is about to start in two weeks’ time, and all protagonists are getting ready.

Operation Paso del Estrecho is a Spanish plan to coordinate the arrival of large numbers of immigrants during holiday periods, traveling from Europe to their hometowns in North Africa. In Morocco it is called Opération Marhaba.

Forecasts indicate that the record figures reached in 2018 (3.2 million passengers and 734,240 vehicles passed through Spanish ports between 15 June and 15 September), could be exceeded.

In total, nine Spanish ports are involved: Algeciras, Tarifa, Malaga, Almeria, Motril, Alicante, Valencia, Ceuta and Melilla. Some 34 vessels are involved.

The busiest days are expected to be from July 27 to 30, August 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10, as well as late August. Last year thousands of travellers were stranded in Tanger, some for 48 hours.

As in previous years, the interchangeability of the tickets will be operational between the shipping companies, allowing the first ones arriving to take the first available ferry.