Three stowaways were captured sitting on the giant rudder of an oil tanker after they survived a remarkable 11-day voyage from Nigeria to the Canary Islands.
The Spanish coast guard posted a dramatic photo of the three men precariously perched atop the rudder of the Maltese-flagged Alithini II as it arrived in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, on Monday.
Their feet are seen dangling just inches above the water behind the massive hull.
The ship — which left Lagos, Nigeria, on Nov. 17 — covered some 2,000 miles during the 11-day journey to the Spanish territory off Northwest Africa, according to tracking website Marine Traffic.
They were treated for dehydration and hypothermia after their perilous trip, officials said.
Txema Santana, a migration adviser to the local government, said in a tweet: “It is not the first and it will not be the last. Stowaways do not always have the same luck.”
In 2020, a 14-year-old Nigerian boy was interviewed by Spain’s El País after lasting 15 days on a ship’s rudder after a trip from Lagos.
He survived on salt water and by taking turns sleeping in a hole above the rudder with the other people he was traveling with, the BBC reported.
“We were very weak. I never imagined it could be this hard.” the boy told the newspaper.
Also that year, four men were found on the rudder of the Norwegian tanker Champion Pula, which also sailed from Nigeria to Las Palmas, the BBC reported, citing reports that they hid in a room behind the rudder during its 10 days at sea.
Thousands of African migrants and refugees have reached the Canary Islands in recent years by making the dangerous voyage on crowded boats after departing from the coast of Morocco, the Western Sahara, Mauritania and even Senegal.
So far this year, more than 11,600 people have reached the Spanish islands by boat, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry.
With Post Wires