Three Nigerians, who arrived in the Spanish Canary Islands on Monday after spending 11 days on the high seas hiding on the rudder of an oil tanker, have finally been able to apply for asylum, Spanish authorities announced on Wednesday. This tanker will therefore be able to leave without them, according to the prefecture of the Canaries, islands located off the coast of Africa.
The Spanish authorities had however indicated on Tuesday that these three illegal immigrants had been handed over to the owner of the tanker who, according to them, had the legal responsibility to bring them back to the port of origin of the boat, which had been denounced by several NGOs. This ship flying the Maltese flag, the “Alithini II”, had sailed from Lagos in Nigeria on November 17 before arriving Monday at the port of Las Palmas, in the Canary archipelago.
“Hypothermia” and “dehydration”
An impressive photo released by the Spanish sea rescue services and taken up by numerous media showed the arrival of these three men, seated on the huge rudder, their feet just above the water, under the stern of this imposing ship, 183 meters long and 32 meters wide.
On their arrival in the Canary Islands, these three men “were tired and showed signs of hypothermia” for which “they were taken care of by the health services”, the sea rescue services told AFP on Monday. They also presented “moderate dehydration”, had underlined the emergency services.