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Spanish coastguard rescues two Nigerian migrants from ship’s rudder

MADRID (Reuters) – The Spanish coastguard rescued two Nigerian migrants who stowed away on the rudder of a ship that arrived in the Canary Islands from Togo, a coastguard spokesperson and the police said on Tuesday.

After being rescued on Monday night in the port of Las Palmas, the migrants were taken to a hospital. They were later released and were transferred back to the ship, which has to return them to their port of origin, the port police tweeted.

A police port member takes notes as the Spanish coastguard rescues two Nigerian migrants who stowed away on the rudder of a ship that arrived in the Canary Islands from Togo, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, in this still image from video obtained from social media and released July 11, 2023. Polic?a Portuaria APLP @PoliciaAPLP/via REUTERS

READ MORE: Spain rescues boat with 86 migrants, hundreds likely still missing

In a video and photographs published on Twitter by Las Palmas maritime police, the two stowaways are shown hunkered on the rudder under the hull, just above the waterline of the MSC Marta.

The migrants are aged 19 and 22, a spokesperson for the Guardia Civil Police said.

The container ship’s last stop before reaching the Spanish archipelago off the African coast was Lome, Togo’s capital, said the coastguard spokesperson without elaborating.

The ship left Lagos, in Nigeria, on July 2 and stopped on July 4 in Togo, according to local newspaper La Provincia, meaning the migrants were onboard for at least seven days.

READ MORE: World Bank: Global migration to grow, needs better management

In a similar case in November last year, the Spanish coastguard rescued three African stowaways who had arrived in the Canary Islands after enduring 11 days on the rudder of a fuel tanker from Nigeria.

Members of the Spanish coastguard prepare to rescue two Nigerian migrants who stowed away on the rudder of a ship that arrived in the Canary Islands from Togo, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, in this still image from video obtained from social media and released July 11, 2023. Polic?a Portuaria APLP @PoliciaAPLP/via REUTERS

Under Spanish law, any stowaway who does not seek asylum must be returned by the operator of the ship to the port where the journey originated.

The Spanish-owned Canary Islands are a popular but dangerous gateway for African migrants attempting to reach Europe.

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