An astonishing photo has captured three stowaways sitting on an oil tanker’s rudder after 11 days and more than 3,000 kilometres in open seas.
The trio from Nigeria were spotted by the Spanish Coast Guard after arriving in the Canary Islands, just off the coast of northwest Africa, on Monday, as reported by Spanish news outlet EFE.
In an image shared online, the group can be seen huddled under the vessel’s huge hull, with their feet dangling just inches above the water.
Clinging to life
Still sitting in the tiny, cramped space of the Maltese-flagged oil tanker, Alithini II, the three were spotted after arriving in the Port of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, a week and a half after setting sail from the Port of Lagos in Nigeria on November 17.
With barely half a metre to the water’s edge, it’s not known if the group had spent the entire 3,220 kilometre journey perched on the stern.
Suffering moderate dehydration, all three stowaways were treated at the dock by emergency medical assistance teams before being rushed to local hospitals, as reported by EFE.
Tanker to return stowaways to Nigeria
The Canary Islands, located just 100 kilometres west of Morocco, have become a popular route for African migrants hoping to escape to Europe.
A migration adviser to the local government, Txema Santana, has since tweeted that on previous occasions the owner of the ship had to take charge of any stowaways on board and return them to the point of origin.
In a series of tweets that Yahoo News Australia has translated to English he explained that two of the trio are on board the ship again after being discharged from hospital.
“The third is still admitted and stabilised,” he wrote.
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