Three migrants who survived an 11-day journey from Nigeria to the Canary Islands on the rudder of a fuel tanker have asked for asylum in Spain, officials have said.
AFP reports that the three Nigerian men were found when the Alithini II fuel ship docked in Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria on Monday evening.
The three stowaways had symptoms of hypothermia and received medical attention before being returned to the ship.
Spanish authorities initially said the operator of the ship had the legal responsibility to transport them back to Nigeria since they were stowaways.
But a spokesperson for the central government's representative in the Canary Islands said the three migrants have requested asylum in Spain and the Maltese-flagged ship was allowed to leave Gran Canaria without them.
The Alithini II left Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, for a journey of 2,700 nautical miles to Las Palmas on November 17th, according to maritime tracking websites.
Spain's Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic off the northwest coast of Africa, are a popular gateway for African migrants seeking a better life in Europe.