LOL: 3 Nigerian stowaways found on ship’s rudder after 11 days at sea

Three stowaways were rescued from a ship’s rudder in the Canary Islands after having sailed from Nigeria 11 days earlier. 

The three men were found on the Alithini II oil tanker at the Las Palmas port by Spain’s Salvamento Maritimo, which reported the men appeared to have symptoms of dehydration and hypothermia. Spanish news agency EFE reported the men were seen by medics at the dock upon arrival and taken to the hospital shortly thereafter.

A photo shared by the agency shows the three men sitting on the ship, with their feet dangling over the water. 

The Maltese-flagged oil tanker left Nigeria on Nov. 17 as it embarked on an 11-day journey to Las Palmas port, according to the ship-tracking website, MarineTraffic. The trip was approximately 2,000 miles. 

Migration advisor to the regional government of the Canary Islands and journalist Txema Santana tweeted in response to the rescue, writing, “It is not the first and it will not be the last. Stowaways do not always have the same luck.”

The Canary Islands have seen their fair share of migrants and stowaways in recent years, with a 14-year-old Nigerian boy surviving a two-week trip from Lagos to Gran Canaria on a ship’s rudder in 2020.

He survived the trip on salt water and took turns with the men he was traveling with of sleeping in a hole above the rudder. He was hospitalized upon arrival. 

A second incident that same year saw four men arrive at Las Palmas from Lagos after a 10-day trip. The men reportedly hid in a room behind the rudder for the entirety of the trip. 

More than 11,600 individuals have arrived at the Spanish Islands by boat this year alone, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry.

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