After allowing passengers on foot, private vehicles can now embark and cross the straits

Los vehículos particulares ya pueden tomar el ferri entre Algeciras y Tánger

photo_camera PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Ferry connexion between Spain and Morocco

From this Easter Monday, private vehicles will be able to board ferries to cross the strait from the ports of Algeciras Bay to Tangiers, as planned by the Spanish and Moroccan authorities. After opening the crossing to pedestrian passengers, it is now open to vehicles, as a result of the new phase of relations between Spain and Morocco. 

The reopening is now complete, as announced by the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras through its media. The conditions are similar to those established for pedestrian passengers: a PCR of a maximum of 72 hours before or a COVID certificate of full vaccination is required, as well as only closed tickets being accepted. 

The shipping companies operating the Algeciras-Tangier and Tarifa-Tangier routes are FRS, AML, Baleària, Trasmediterránea and Intershipping, and boarding times are from 9.30 am to 11.30 pm. 

The opening of the lines from the Bay of Algeciras to Tangiers makes it entirely possible for this summer's Operation Crossing the Strait, or Marhaba, to take place, just as it used to every year before the COVID pandemic. 

On the other hand, the connections between the Andalusian ports of Motril and Almeria have still not been resumed and will not provide service to the ports of Nador and Al Hoceima, close to the Spanish city of Melilla. 

coches tanger

Prior to the closure of the lines due to the pandemic, up to 6 million passengers passed through the ports of the Bay of Algeciras annually, of which more than 3 million embarked between the months of June and September. It is hoped that after the normalisation of relations between Spain and Morocco the numbers will return to pre-COVID levels.

Despite the relaxation of health measures and entry and exit restrictions by Spain and Morocco, the crisis caused by the semi-clandestine reception of Polisario leader Brahim Ghali at Algeria's behest led to a serious diplomatic crisis between the two kingdoms. This was not overcome until 14 March, when Pedro Sánchez sent a letter to Morocco's King Mohammed VI expressing his government's support for Morocco's autonomy plan for the Sahara. Following this letter, a state visit was organised in Rabat, during which a 16-point roadmap was presented to restore relations between the two countries to a state of sincere cordiality, symbolised by the invitation to Pedro Sánchez to participate in an Iftar with the royal family. 

paso estrecho

In addition to the reopening of maritime connections between Spain and Morocco, the Spanish and Moroccan governments announced that they are working to reopen the border crossings at Ceuta and Melilla, with the novelty of incorporating customs at each crossing. 

The crossings at Ceuta and Melilla are still closed, and according to the authorities they will be opened in an organised and gradual manner. According to the last Official State Gazette referring to the crossings, the closure of both was extended until 30 April. 

In the case of the Beni Enzar crossing, which separates Morocco from Melilla, Atalayar was able to learn in detail that the Moroccan authorities have already cleaned the post, removed the concrete blocks and returned the border officials to their posts. 

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