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

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

Posted For: Willie Wonka

By Haley Chi-Sing

Three stowaways were rescued from a ship’s rudder in the Canary Islands on Monday 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 Marítimo, which reported the men appearing to have symptoms of dehydration and hypothermia. Spanish news agency EFE reported that 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 massive ship’s rudder 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 the Port of Las Palmas, according to ship-tracking website MarineTraffic. The trip was approximately 2,000 miles.

Migration adviser 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, Nigeria, to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands on a ship’s rudder in 2020. He survived the trip on salt water and took turns with the men he was traveling with to sleep in an opening 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. The U.N.’s International Organization for Migration previously recorded 1,126 total deaths while en route in 2021.

Photo from a distance showing the entire Alithini oil tanker during daytime


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