Nov 29, 2022 - World

Nigerian stowaways survive 11-day journey to Canary Islands on rudder of ship

Three stowaways on a oil tanker

The three stowaways perched on the rudder of the Alithini II.Photo: Salvamento Maritimo

Three Nigerian men who survived an 11-day journey from Lagos to Spain's Canary Islands while stowed away on the rudder of an oil tanker were rescued by the Spanish coast guard on Monday, AP reported.

Driving the news: The Maltese-flagged Alithini II, a chemical and oil tanker, arrived in Las Palmas Port in Gran Canaria on Monday after leaving Nigeria on Nov. 17, according to Marine Traffic, a ship-tracking website.

  • A photo distributed by the Spanish coast guard on Tuesday showed the three men perched on the ship's rudder.
  • The three men were taken into the port and attended to by medical services, the coast guard tweeted Monday.
  • The men showed symptoms of dehydration and hypothermia, and one remained hospitalized on Tuesday, AP reported.

The big picture: Dangerous crossings from Africa to the Canary Islands have increased significantly since late 2019 after authorities instituted tighter checks on Mediterranean routes, per the Guardian.

  • The men face being returned home in accordance with stowaway laws unless they are able to claim asylum in Spain, Reuters reported.
  • Spanish data showed that migration by sea to the Canary Islands jumped 51% in the first five months of the year compared to last year, per CNN.
  • In 2021, about 22,500 migrants crossed by sea from the West African coastline to the Canary Islands and more than 1,100 died at sea, according to the Red Cross.
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