The Spanish coastguard has found and rescued three stowaways on a ship’s rudder.
The ship arrived in the Canary Islands after an 11-day ocean voyage from Nigeria.
A photograph shared on Twitter on Monday by the coastguard showed the stowaways perching on the rudder of the oil and chemical tanker Alithini II docked at the Las Palmas port.
The men appeared to have symptoms of dehydration and hypothermia and were taken to hospitals on the island for medical attention.
One of them is still in the hospital, according to Australia’s 9News.
The Spanish government’s delegation in the Canary Islands said the stowaways were all from Nigeria.
“It is not the first and it will not be the last. Stowaways do not always have the same luck,” Txema Santana, a journalist and migration adviser to the Canary Islands government, tweeted.
Dangerous crossings to the Canaries from North Africa have been on the increase since late 2019 after checks on Mediterranean routes were tightened.
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 also shows that migration to the archipelago by sea jumped 51 per cent in the first five months of the year compared with the year before.
Thousands of people die every year on the voyage – which the use of rickety wooden or inflatable boats makes increasingly perilous.