In connection with the Alithini II oil tanker docked in the port of Las Palmas on Monday, three stowaways were detected, reports the AP news agency. The men, all Nigerians, clung to the rudder and sailed the boat for eleven days.
The men are believed to have hid at the helm when the oil tanker left the Nigerian port of Lagos on November 17, hoping to reach the Canary Islands.
When the boat docked in the port, the rescuers took care of the men. All three showed signs of hypothermia and dehydration, and were therefore taken to hospital, Spain’s rescue service told the Associated Press. None of the men were reported to have sustained serious injuries, and on Tuesday two of them had to be discharged from hospital.
Not The first time people clung to the rudders of a ship to reach the Canary Islands. In 2020, the Spanish newspaper El País drew attention to a 14-year-old boy who had successfully been at the helm for more than two weeks. Also at that time, the ship departed from Lagos.
Sofia Hernandez works as a marine rescue worker for the volunteer organization Salvamento Maritimo. She says the organization has worked with six similar cases in the past two years. Hernandez told the AP that the stowaways try to take shelter in the ship’s alcove above the rudder, but are too affected by the weather and winds.
– It’s very dangerous, Sofia Hernandez tells the Associated Press.
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