Three stowaways were found on a ship’s rudder in the Canary Islands after an 11-day ocean voyage from Nigeria, Spain’s maritime rescue service said.
The men found on the Alithini II oil tanker at the Las Palmas port on Monday afternoon appeared to have symptoms of dehydration and hypothermia and were transferred to hospitals on the island for medical attention, according to Spain’s Maritime Safety and Rescue Society.
The survivors were all from Nigeria, the Spanish government’s delegation in the Canary Islands told The Associated Press. One of them remained hospitalized Tuesday.
The maritime rescue agency, known in Spain as Salvamento Marítimo, shared a photo of the three men sitting on top of the rudder under the ship’s massive hull with their feet hanging only a few centimeters (inches) from the water
According to the MarineTraffic tracking website, the Malta-flagged vessel left Lagos, Nigeria on Nov. 17 and arrived in Las Palmas on Monday. The distance between the ports is roughly 2,800 miles.
Other people were previously discovered clinging to rudders while risking their lives to reach the Spanish islands located off northwest Africa. Salvamento Maritimo has dealt with six similar cases in the last two years, according to Sofía Hernández who heads the service’s coordination center in Las Palmas.
According to EFE, a Spanish news agency, the men were seen by medics at the dock and were taken to hospital at the tanker’s destination in Gran Canaria and treated for dehydration and hypothermia.
Two of the three men have been discharged from the hospital but the third is still hospitalised although stable.
It remains unclear if they spent the entire journey perched on the rudder.
Txema Santana, migration adviser to the Canary Island, in a tweet said the ship went from Nigeria to the Canary Islands without a stopover.
The official said the survivors said there are only three of them left, indicating that there may be more than three who embarked on the journey.
“…after a few days they ran out of food. So far it is unknown if they have had access to request international protection,” Mr Santana said.
The Maltese-flagged Althini II arrived in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, from Lagos – a journey of more than 2,700 nautical miles – according to data collected by maritime tracking websites.