According to authorities, three stowaways were found sitting on the rudder of a ship after sailing for 11 days from Nigeria to the Canary Islands.
A photograph published by the Spanish Coastguard depicts three men perched on the rudder of an oil tanker.
It’s still unclear whether or not the three men spend the entire voyage on the rudder or if they also hid in other parts of the ship.
Once discovered, they were brought to a hospital in Gran Canaria — the ship’s destination — where all three of the stowaways were treated for moderate to severe dehydration.
Data from a website that tracks maritime vessels reported that the Maltese-flagged Althini II arrived in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, en route from Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. The trip was more than 2,700 nautical miles.
According to EFE, a Spanish news outlet, the three stowaways were checked out my medics on site when they were found before being taken to the hospital.
Stowaways have traveled on ship rudders before. In 2020, a 14 year old boy — who also traveled from Lagos, Nigeria to Gran Canaria — told El Pais that he spent 15 days drinking sea water. According to the boy, he and the men he traveled with took turns sleeping in a hole in the ship above the rudder. He too was hospitalized after arriving at port.
He said, “We were very weak. I never imagined it could be this hard.”
Authorities have seen a significant spike in the number of migrants crossing from west Africa to the Spanish-owned Canary Islands on boats in recent years. In 2021, the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that there were 1,532 deaths on the trip from Africa to the Spanish Islands.