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Migrants travel to Canary Islands balanced on ship’s RUDDER

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Migrants travel to Canary Islands balanced on ship’s RUDDER: Stunned coastguard rescue three men as ship completes 11-day voyage from Nigeria

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

Three migrants who travelled from Nigeria to the Canary Islands by stowing away on the rudder of a ship have been rescued by the Spanish coastguard after the vessel completed an 11-day voyage.

The three stowaways were seen perched precariously on the rudder of the oil and chemical tanker Althini II mere feet over the waterline, though it is unclear whether they spent the entire non-stop journey balancing 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 lengthy voyage from Lagos in Nigeria, with GPS data corroborated by multiple ship-tracking websites confirming it made no stops along the way.

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

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

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

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

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

‘They have been transferred to the port and treated by health services.’ 

A local government spokesperson from the Canary Islands told Spanish news outlet EFE that the migrants were met by medics at the dock and were quickly transferred to hospital. 

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

It is not clear how the migrants managed to survive the journey given they travelled seemingly without supplies and braved conditions where there was barely enough room to sleep, let alone sit up straight. 

But it is not the first time stowaways have been found travelling on the rudder of commercial ships to the Canary Islands.

The Maltese-flagged Althini II arrived in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on Monday morning after its lengthy voyage from Lagos in Nigeria, with GPS data corroborated by multiple ship-tracking websites confirming it made no stops along the way

The Maltese-flagged Althini II arrived in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on Monday morning after its lengthy voyage from Lagos in Nigeria, with GPS data corroborated by multiple ship-tracking websites confirming it made no stops along the way

'This afternoon, the Salvamar Nunki (a coastguard boat) rescued three stowaways located on the rudder blade of the ship Althini II, anchored in the docks of the port of Las Palmas and coming from Nigeria,' the Salvamento Maritimo wrote on Twitter yesterday

‘This afternoon, the Salvamar Nunki (a coastguard boat) rescued three stowaways located on the rudder blade of the ship Althini II, anchored in the docks of the port of Las Palmas and coming from Nigeria,’ the Salvamento Maritimo wrote on Twitter yesterday

Last year a 14-year-old Nigerian boy was interviewed by Spain’s El Pais newspaper after surviving two weeks on the rudder of a ship travelling from Lagos.

In November 2020, three other people were found balanced on the rudder of the Ocean Princess II, a St Vincent Grenadines-flagged cargo vessel, and a month before that, another three arrived on the Canary Islands aboard the Champion Pula, a Norwegian oil tanker.

The Spanish-owned Canary Islands are a popular gateway for African migrants attempting to reach Europe. 

Spanish data shows migration by sea to the archipelago jumped 51 per cent in the first five months of the year compared to a year earlier.

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