Three migrants survive 11 days on the rudder blade of a ship

(CNN) — Spanish Coast Guard rescued three people who were at the helm of a ship that arrived in the Canary Islands from Nigeria.

In a photograph, which the coast guard distributed this Monday, you can see how the migrants are on the rudder blade of the oil and chemical tanker Althini II.

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

The migrants were transferred to the port and treated by the health services, the coast guard reported on Twitter.

The Canary Islands are a popular gateway for African migrants trying to reach Europe. Data from Spain show that migration by sea to the archipelago shot up 51% in the first five months of the year compared to the previous year.

Thousands of migrants leave Africa on dangerous boat journeys

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 those people died at sea, the organization said.

In 2020, four Nigerian stowaways survived 10 days at sea before being found hiding in a compartment on the rudder blade of a Norwegian oil tanker that had traveled from Lagos to Las Palmas, according to Norwegian media.

That same year, a 14-year-old Nigerian told the Spanish newspaper The country who hid for 15 days in a compartment above the wheel of a freighter carrying fuel, while traveling from Lagos to the Canary Islands.

According to the Red Cross, poverty, violent conflict and the search for job opportunities continue to fuel migration out of West Africa.

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