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Migrants travel to Canary Islands balanced on ship's RUDDER

Three migrants were found perched on the rudder of a chemical tanker sailing from Lagos, Nigeria, to the Canary Islands.  They sat a few feet from the waterline and were exposed to the elements

Migrants travel to Canary Islands balancing on ship’s RUDDER: Stunned Coastguard saves three men as vessel completes 11-day voyage from Nigeria

  • Three migrants were found perched on the rudder just feet from the waterline
  • The boat sailed directly from Lagos in Nigeria to the island of Las Palmas in 11 days
  • It is unclear whether the migrants spent the entire 11-day journey on the rudder

Three migrants who traveled from Nigeria to the Canary Islands hiding on the helm of a ship have been rescued by the Spanish coastguard after the ship made an 11-day journey.

The three stowaways were seen perched precariously on the rudder of the oil and chemical tanker Althini II just feet above the waterline, although it is unclear whether they spent the entire voyage non-stop poised just above the seas of the North Atlantic.

The Maltese-flagged Althini II arrived in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on Monday morning after its long journey from Lagos in Nigeria, with GPS data corroborated by several ship tracking websites confirming that it made no stopovers in road course.

The migrants were suffering from dehydration and hypothermia when they were taken into port by the coastguard, but had managed to survive by being curled up on a few square meters of unforgiving metal, totally exposed to the weather.

Three migrants were found perched on the rudder of a chemical tanker sailing from Lagos, Nigeria, to the Canary Islands.  They sat a few feet from the waterline and were exposed to the elements

Three migrants were found perched on the rudder of a chemical tanker sailing from Lagos, Nigeria, to the Canary Islands. They sat a few feet from the waterline and were exposed to the elements

There was not enough space for migrants to sit up straight or lie down to sleep

There was not enough space for migrants to sit up straight or lie down to sleep

“This afternoon, the Salvamar Nunki (a coast guard boat) rescued three stowaways located on the rudder of the ship Althini II, anchored in the docks of the port of Las Palmas and coming from Nigeria”, the Salvamento Maritimo, the Spanish maritime search and rescue agency, wrote on Twitter yesterday.

“They were transferred to the port and treated by the health services.”

A spokesman for the local government in the Canary Islands told Spanish media EFE that the migrants were met by doctors at the dock and were quickly taken to hospital.

Two of the stowaways were taken to Doctor Negrín Hospital, while their companion was sent to the Insular University Hospital on the island of Las Palmas.

It is unclear how the migrants managed to survive the journey given that they traveled seemingly without supplies and braved conditions where there was barely enough room to sleep, let alone sit upright.

But this is not the first time that stowaways have traveled on the helm of commercial ships to the Canary Islands.

“This afternoon, the Salvamar Nunki (a Coast Guard boat) rescued three stowaways located on the rudder of the Althini II vessel, anchored in the docks of the port of Las Palmas and coming from Nigeria”, wrote yesterday the Salvamento Maritimo on Twitter.

Last year, a 14-year-old Nigerian boy was interviewed by Spanish newspaper El Pais after surviving two weeks at the helm of a ship from Lagos.

In November 2020, three more people were found balancing on the rudder of the Ocean Princess II, a freighter flying the flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and a month before that three more people had arrived in the Canary Islands aboard the Champion Pula, a Norwegian tanker. .

Spain’s Canary Islands are a popular gateway for African migrants trying to reach Europe.

Spanish data shows that migration by sea to the archipelago jumped 51% in the first five months of the year compared to the previous year.

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