Members of the Marine Rescue Service and Guardia Civil carried out the rescue of 12 sub-Saharans on Friday morning in the Straits of Gibraltar.
The authorities had received two calls from relatives of those on board the vessel to say that the boat was in trouble off the Spanish coast.
The passengers included a minor and a pregnant woman. All were said to be in good health and were transferred to Tarifa for processing.
It is known that 198 immigrants died during 2011 in attempts to reach mainland Spain, 180 of these occurring in the Straits of Gibraltar. However, it is thought that the actual figure may be much higher, the 198 only relating to bodies recovered.