Stowaways survived 11 days on the helm of an oil tanker at sea

In this photo released by Spain's Maritime Safety and Rescue Society on Tuesday November 29, 2022, three men are photographed on an oil tanker moored in the port of Canary Islands, Spain. Spain's Sea Rescue Service said it had rescued three stowaways traveling on the rudder of a ship in the Canary Islands after the ship sailed there from Nigeria. The men were found on the oil tanker Alithini II in the port of Las Palmas. (Salvamento Maritimo via AP)

A photo shared by the trio shows their feet dangling inches from the water (Image: AP)

Three stowaways have been rescued after surviving 11 days at the helm of an oil tanker.

The Spanish Sea Rescue Service said the men were found on a ship that had departed from Nigeria bound for the Canary Islands.

The men, who were found on the oil tanker Alithini II in Las Palmas port, appeared to be showing symptoms of dehydration and hypothermia and were taken to a hospital on the island for medical attention.

A photo of the trio shows their feet dangling inches from the water.

According to the MarineTraffic website, the Maltese-flagged vessel left Lagos on November 17 and arrived in Las Palmas on Monday after an 11-day voyage.

The distance is approximately 2,000 miles.

Although extremely dangerous, it is not the first time that stowaways have risked their lives to reach the Spanish Canary Islands off north-west Africa in this way.

In 2020, a 14-year-old Nigerian boy was interviewed by Spanish newspaper El Pais after surviving two weeks at the helm of a ship, at the mercy of inclement weather and rough seas. He had also departed from Lagos.

The chemical tanker Alithini II is docked in the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria after three migrants stowed on the ship's rudder were rescued by Spanish coastguards on Monday in the island of Gran Canaria, Spain, November 29, 2022. REUTERS/ Borja Suarez

The men were found on the oil tanker Alithini II in Las Palmas port (Image: Reuters)

“It’s neither the first nor the last time,” tweeted Txema Santana, journalist and migration adviser to the regional government of the Canary Islands.

He added that on previous occasions, the shipowner was usually responsible for returning the stowaways to their point of origin.

Thousands of migrants and refugees from North and West Africa have irregularly reached the Canary Islands in recent years.

Most make the perilous Atlantic crossing on crowded boats after venturing off the coasts of Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania and even Senegal.

According to the Spanish Interior Ministry, more than 11,600 people have reached the Spanish islands by boat so far this year.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/11/29/stowaways-survived-11-days-on-rudder-of-oil-tanker-at-sea-17845806/ Stowaways survived 11 days on the helm of an oil tanker at sea

Justin Scacco

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