Stowaways found on ship’s rudder in Canary Islands

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Stowaways Found On Ship’s Rudder In Canary Islands Stowaways Found On Ship’s Rudder In Canary Islands
The three men on the rudder of the oil tanker in Gran Canaria
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By Associated Press Reporters

Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service says it has rescued three stowaways found on a ship’s rudder in the Canary Islands after the vessel sailed there from Nigeria.

The men, found on the Alithini II oil tanker at Las Palmas port, appeared to have symptoms of dehydration and hypothermia and were taken to hospital on the island for medical attention, the Salvamento Maritimo said.

The agency shared a photo of the three men sitting on the rudder under the ship’s massive hull with their feet hanging a few inches from the water.


 

According to the MarineTraffic website, the Malta-flagged vessel left Lagos on November 17 and arrived in Las Palmas on Monday after an 11-day journey. The distance is roughly 2,000 miles.

Though extremely dangerous, it is not the first time stowaways have been found risking their lives to reach Spain’s Canary Islands, off north-west Africa, in this way. In 2020 a 14-year-old Nigerian boy was interviewed by Spain’s El Pais newspaper after surviving two weeks on a ship’s rudder, at the mercy of bad weather and rough seas. He had also departed from Lagos.

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“It’s not the first time nor will it be the last,” tweeted Txema Santana, a journalist and migration adviser to the regional government of the Canary Islands.

He added that on previous occasions, the ship owner has usually been responsible for returning the stowaways to their point of departure.

Thousands of migrants and refugees from north and west Africa have reached the Canary Islands irregularly in recent years. Most make the dangerous Atlantic crossing on crowded boats after departing from the coast of Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania and even Senegal.

More than 11,600 people have reached the Spanish islands by boat so far this year, according to figures released by Spain’s Interior Ministry.

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