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Stowaways sail into Canary Islands hidden on rudder of ship

Two men were found on the rudder of a cargo ship at a port in Spain’s Canary Islands.

They stowed away on board MSC Marta, a cargo ship from Togo bound for Italy, after they boarded the vessel in Nigeria.

They spent several days laying face down on the rudder blade until the ship docked at Las Palmas.

The dramatic photo illustrates the desperation of migrants leaving Africa as the search continues for three boats reported lost at sea by an NGO, a day after rescuing scores of migrants from another vessel near the Canary Islands.

“For the moment, we’ve not found anything,” a spokeswoman for Spain’s Salvamento Maritimo said.

During searches on Monday, rescuers found a boat carrying 78 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, who were taken to Gran Canaria island, she said.

The three missing boats are believed to have left the coast of Senegal, according to Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras which helps migrant boats in distress.

“One is carrying around 200 people, and the other two between 50 and 70 people,” a spokesman said.

Caminando founder Helena Maleno said the biggest of the three boats had left the town of Kafountine on June 27 with “many minors on board”.

Kafountine is a fishing village in southern Senegal, located about 1,700km (more than 1,000 miles) south of the Canary Islands.

The other two boats left the Senegalese coast on June 23.

“Every minute counts if we’re to find these more than 300 people alive who are in three Senegalese pirogues which have disappeared in the Atlantic,” Ms Maleno tweeted on Tuesday.

“We need more search means and greater collaboration between Mauritania, Spain and Morocco.”

The Atlantic route to the Canaries is particularly dangerous due to the strong currents, with migrants travelling in overloaded boats – which are often unseaworthy – and without enough drinking water.

Many boats leave from the shores of Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania, but they also come from countries further south, such as Senegal.

Atlantic crossings began surging in late 2019 after increased patrols along Europe’s southern coast dramatically reduced Mediterranean crossings.

In the first six months of this year 7,213 migrants reached the Canary Islands by boat, Interior Ministry figures show.
Source: The National News

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