The Spanish coast guard has rescued three migrants in the Canary Islands who had been hiding on the rudder of an oil tanker.

They had spent 11 days on the rudder and were suffering from moderate dehydration symptoms. The three were taken to the hospital.

The ship, the Alithini II, had departed from Lagos in Nigeria on 17 November.

On arrival at the port of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria Monday afternoon, the three men were noticed sitting on the helm with their feet less than a metre from the water. The alerted coastguard brought them to safety. They received first aid at the port, after which they were taken to hospitals on the island.

This is not the first time people have tried to sail along to Europe on the rudder of a ship. In October 2020, four stowaways were found on the rudder of an oil tanker after 10 days, and a month later the Spanish coastguard discovered three more in the same situation. Both ships had departed from Lagos.

The number of migrants crossing to the Canary Islands has increased in recent years. This is probably due to the tightened controls in the Mediterranean since 2019.