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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Nigerian stowaways to stay in Spain as refugees

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The three Nigerian men who arrived at the Canary Islands after an 11-day journey hidden on top of the rudder of an oil tanker have been permitted to remain in port by the Spanish authorities on Wednesday after they requested asylum.

After a visit to the hospital, two of the men were sent back aboard the Alithini II, whose captain was responsible for them, but the Spanish authorities authorized the vessel to leave port and continue its route without the migrants.

The third man, who is recovering from dehydration, remained in the hospital, where he requested international protection after receiving a visit from a member of the Diocese of the Canary Islands.

Since the news of their arrival became known, the Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR), the Catholic Church, and other NGOs have worked to prevent their expulsion from the country without at least assessing their personal circumstances.

Because they had arrived in Spain as stowaways, they had not been legally considered migrants but now that their requests for asylum have been submitted, they cannot be deported until the authorities review their case.

An image by Salvamento Marítimo of the three men when they were found in the small space under the stern where the rudder fits into the hull, just above the water line, has gained widespread attention from international media and social organizations.

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