The migrants traveled hidden on the rudder blade of an oil tanker that arrived in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Monday and the Police indicate that they must be returned to their country
For eleven days, three Nigerians risked their lives out in the open, sitting on the rudder blade of an oil tanker in which they traveled hidden to fulfill their dream of reaching Europe. The ship, with the Maltese flag and called ‘Alithini II’, had left Lagos, the capital of the North African country, on November 17, without suspecting that in that small hole that is located just above the waterline were stowaways crouched, exposed to any blow from the sea and with their feet barely separated half a meter from the water.
The agonizing journey across the Atlantic Ocean came to an end on Monday, around 7:00 p.m. local time, when the three migrants were rescued by a coast guard ship when the tanker anchored near the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The 112 emergency service explained on Twitter that those affected had “moderate dehydration and required hospital care.” For its part, Maritime Rescue added that the sub-Saharan Africans, all of whom were of legal age, “were fatigued, with symptoms of hypothermia and had to be treated by the health services.”
At the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria sports dock, the Nigerians received the first assistance from the local emergency services and members of the Red Cross as soon as they were rescued by Salvamar Nunki. However, due to their delicate condition, two of them were referred to the Doctor Negrín Hospital and the third, who was in a more serious condition, had to be taken to the Insular Hospital, according to the Government Delegation.
The shocking photograph released on Twitter by Maritime Rescue, in which the three migrants could be seen on the rudder blade of the oil tanker, clearly reflected the vulnerability of migrants in the face of the long and risky journey undertaken. Txema Santana, advisor for migration to the Government of the Canary Islands, stressed to Euronews that this is not the first time that the Spanish authorities have discovered stowaways hiding in dangerous places on a ship in the port of Las Palmas. The last precedent occurred in November 2020, in the rudder blade of the oil tanker ‘Ocean Princess II’, and a month earlier aboard the ‘Champion Pula’. Both ships had left Nigeria.
This afternoon, the Salvamar Nunki rescued three stowaways located on the rudder blade of the ship Althini II, anchored in the docks of the port of Las Palmas and coming from Nigeria. They have been transferred to the port and treated by health services. pic.twitter.com/1Ei1FieAV3
MARITIME RESCUE (@salvamentogob) November 28, 2022
In the case of the ‘Ocean Princess II’, the finding of a 14-year-old boy who traveled for 15 days hiding in the same hole as the three sub-Saharan Africans from Lagos to Las Palmas was especially high-profile. “We only saw water. I was already very weak, hungry and losing my mind. I could only think of a good bowl of rice. It was the first time I drank salt water,” he told the newspaper ‘El País’ in an interview.
A spokesman for the Canary Islands Police clarified this Tuesday that it is up to the ship operator to take care of the stowaways, provide them with temporary accommodation and return them to their origin as soon as possible. The decision is based on current regulations, according to which only agents can order the disembarkation of irregular travelers and allow them to stay on land, if it is believed that they may be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment on board or if they are vulnerable groups. as asylum seekers, minors or suffering from a serious illness.
Housed on the ship
‘Alithini II’, a 183 meter long ship built in 2008, is owned by Gardenia Shiptrade SA but managed by Athens-based Astra Ship Management. Although said firm has chosen not to comment on what happened, this Tuesday it emerged that two of the Nigerians have been discharged and are inside the ship waiting to be returned to their native country once they can be identified. by the competent authorities.
Helena Maleno, director of the NGO Walking Borders, which specializes in migration issues, clarified, however, that stowaways could remain in Spain if they request asylum. “On several previous occasions they were able to do it if they choose this route,” she told Reuters.
The Canary Islands are a common gateway for African immigrants trying to reach Europe. However, the number of people who arrived illegally in the archipelago by sea fell in the first ten months of 2022 to 14,875, 17.6% less than the previous year, according to the Ministry of the Interior.
#agonizing #elevenday #journey #Nigerians #reach #Spain
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