Three migrants survived an 11-day voyage sat on ship’s rudder

The Spanish coast guard has rescued three people who were stowed on top of the rudder of a ship that arrived in the Canary Islands from Nigeria.

In a photograph distributed by the coastguard on Monday, the migrants are shown perched on the rudder of the oil and chemical tanker Althini II.

The Althini II arrived in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on Monday after an 11-day voyage from Lagos in Nigeria, according to Marine Traffic, a ship-tracking website.

The migrants were taken into the port and attended to by health services, the coastguard said on Twitter.

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% in the first five months of the year compared to a year earlier.

Last year, more than 20,000 migrants crossed from the West African coastline to the Canary Islands, according to the Red Cross. More than 1,100 of those people died at sea, the organization said.

In 2020, four Nigerian stowaways survived 10 days at sea before they were found hidden in a compartment above the rudder of a Norwegian oil tanker that had traveled from Lagos to Las Palmas, according to Norwegian media.

In the same year, a 14-year-old Nigerian told the Spanish newspaper El Pais that he hid for 15 days in a room atop the rudder of a cargo ship carrying fuel, as it journeyed from Lagos to the Canary Islands.

Poverty, violent conflict, and the quest for job opportunities continue to fuel migration out of West Africa, the Red Cross says.


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