Stowaways discovered after 11 days trapped on ship’s rudder — RT World News
Three Nigerian migrants were rescued from an oil tanker moored in the Canary Islands
Spanish authorities have rescued three men who became stowaways perched atop the rudder of a tanker traveling from Lagos, Nigeria, to the Canary Islands. The migrants had been at sea for 11 days, according to Marine Traffic, a ship tracking website.
A photo released by the Spanish Coast Guard shows the three men sitting on the helm of the Maltese-flagged tanker Alithini II, which docked in Las Palmas on Monday. It is unclear whether the men spent the entire trip at the helm of the boat.
Spanish news agency EFE has since reported that the illegal Nigerians were rescued and taken to hospital where they were treated for moderate dehydration and hypothermia.
Salvamento Maritimo, Spain’s maritime rescue agency, says it has had to deal with six similar cases in the past two years. Sofia Hernandez, who runs the service’s coordination center in Las Palmas, told AP that migrants tend to seek shelter inside the box-like structure around the rudder.
She noted that traveling this way is « very dangerous » as stowaways remain exposed to bad weather and rough seas. Additionally, depending on the weight of the cargo on board the tanker, the rudder could be completely submerged in water, posing a significant hazard to illegal travellers.
Txema Santana, journalist and migration consultant in the Canary Islands, said that « It’s not the first and it won’t be the last » time stowaways attempt to make such a risky journey, noting that not all will have « the same luck. »
Spain’s Canary Islands have been a popular gateway for African migrants trying to enter Europe. However, since 2014, some 2,976 migrants have died or gone missing after failed attempts to cross, according to the International Organization for Migration.
The Spanish Interior Ministry reported that as many as 11,600 people have reached the Spanish islands by boat so far this year, as migration to the archipelago is believed to have increased by 51% in the first five months of 2022. , compared to the previous year.