The Spanish police spokesman on Tuesday said migrants rescued in Spain’s Canary Islands, after an 11-day journey from Nigeria crouched on the rudder of a fuel tanker, should be returned home under stowaway laws.
In a photograph distributed on Twitter by the Spanish coast guard on Monday, the three stowaways are shown crouching on the rudder under the hull, just above the waterline of the Alithini II.
The 183-metre ship, sailing under a Maltese flag, arrived in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria after setting out from Lagos in Nigeria on November 17, and navigating up the West-African coast, according to Marine Traffic.
The ship’s captain confirmed to the Red Cross that the ship had sailed from Nigeria 11 days earlier.
A Canary Islands police spokesperson said it was up to the ship’s operator to take care of stowaways, provide them with temporary accommodation and return them to their origin as soon as possible.
However, Helena Maleno, director of migration of the non-governmental organisation, Walking Borders, said the migrants may be able to remain in Spain if they claim asylum.