Three immigrants survived an 11-day voyage and sat at the helm of the ship

The Spanish Coast Guard rescued three people who had been stowed over the rudder of a ship that had arrived in the Canary Islands from Nigeria.

In a photo released by the Coast Guard on Monday, the migrants are seen sitting at the helm of the Althini II oil and chemical tanker.

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

The Coast Guard said on Twitter that the migrants had been taken to the port and were receiving medical care.

The Spanish-owned Canary Islands are a popular gateway for African migrants trying to reach Europe. Spanish data shows that migration by sea to the archipelago jumped 51% in the first five months of the year compared to the year before.

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

In 2020, four Nigerian stowaways survived 10 days at sea before they were found hiding in a cabin over 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 above the helm of a cargo ship loaded with fuel, during its voyage from Lagos to the Canary Islands.

The Red Cross says poverty, violent conflict and the search for jobs continue to fuel migration from West Africa.

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