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The three stowaways are shown perched on the rudder of the oil and chemical tanker Alithini II. Photograph: EFE Canarias/Twitter

The Spanish coastguard has rescued three men who stowed away on a tanker that arrived in the Canary Islands from Nigeria by balancing on its rudder just above the waterline.

In a photograph distributed on Twitter by the coastguard on Monday, the three stowaways are shown perched on the rudder of the oil and chemical tanker Alithini II.

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

The men were taken into the port and attended to by health services for dehydration and hypothermia, the coastguard said on Twitter.

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Txema Santana, a journalist and migration adviser to the Canary Islands government, tweeted: “It is not the first and it will not be the last. Stowaways do not always have the same luck.”

Perilous crossings to the Canaries from north Africa have increased dramatically since late 2019 after checks on Mediterranean routes were tightened.

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In October 2020, four people stowed away on the rudder of an oil tanker from Lagos, hiding for 10 days before they were discovered by police as the vessel came into Las Palmas.

Spanish data shows migration by sea to the archipelago jumped 51% in the first five months of the year compared with a year earlier.

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Thousands of people die each year on the voyage, which is increasingly perilous by the use of rickety wooden or inflatable boats.

The Guardian UK


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