At least 25 African migrants have died from hunger, thirst and exposure after trying to reach Spain by boat.
A cargo ship rescued 25 survivors off the coast of southern Spain's Almeria province. Five women and five children were reportedly among the survivors.
A boat patrolling waters between Malaga and Melilla rescued the migrants from a half-submerged boat late on Monday.
Every year, tens of thousands of Africans try to enter Spain by boat to find work in Europe.
"We can never know the exact number," a Red Cross employee at the port of Malaga said, according to The Associated Press.
The Red Cross representative said one woman had lost her husband and three small children at sea.
"She was in shock, in a state of great anguish," the representative added.
A total of 921 migrants died in 2007 from exposure or accidents as they made the journey by sea to Spain, according to a Spanish NGO, the Organisation for Human Rights in Andalusia.
The wave of would-be migrants has prompted the government to toughen its stance on migration. It has pledged to repatriate all illegal migrants and has set up joint naval patrols with European partners.
The number of migrants who reached the country by boat has dropped almost 10% from the same period a year earlier and has more than halved since 2006, according to interior ministry figures.
Some of those on the boat were reported to be children