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The Spaniards found three fugitives at the ship’s helm. They may have spent 11 days there.

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The Spanish Coast Guard rescued three people hidden at the helm of an oil tanker arriving in Las Palmas from Lagos, Nigeria, according to the BBC. The men sat on the rudder blade just above the surface.

Three men sit at the helm of the oil and chemical tanker Alithini II in a photo posted on Twitter by the Coast Guard on Monday. All three were taken to a hospital in Gran Canaria and treated for severe thirst. For now, however, it is not entirely clear whether they spent the entire eleven-day journey sitting at the helm.

Flying the Maltese flag, Alithini II has traveled more than 2,700 nautical miles from Nigeria. Txema Santana, a journalist and immigration adviser to the Canary Islands government, tweeted: “They’re not the first and won’t be the last. Black passengers are not always so lucky.’

The number of migrants trying to smuggle them on ships from West Africa to the Canary Islands has increased significantly in recent years, apparently due to tightening controls on routes across the Mediterranean, The Guardian wrote.

This is far from the first case when people tried to hide at the helm of a giant tanker. In 2020, a 14-year-old boy again spent fifteen days at the helm of a tanker en route from Lagos to the Canary Islands. He survived the voyage in salt water and alternated with the other men he was traveling with in the hole above the helm to sleep. He was taken to the hospital when he arrived.

That same year, four men were found at the helm of the Norwegian oil tanker Champion Pula, en route from Lagos to Las Palmas. Reports at the time said the men hid in a room behind the helm during the ten-day voyage.

Source: Seznam Zpravy

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