The two men, aged 18 and 22, had been clinging to the rudder of the container ship ‘MSC Marta’ since July 4th.


The two Nigerian men, aged 18 and 22, were located on Monday night perched on the helm of a ship upon their arrival at the Port of Las Palmas, following a voyage that began in Togo last week. They were taken to the Doctor Negrín Hospital in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for observation, and they were discharged this morning and returned to the ship.

The men were found clinging to the helm of the MSC Marta ship, which covers a freight transportation route between West Africa and Europe, with the Port of Las Palmas as an intermediate stop. The ship arrived in the capital of Gran Canaria after 22:00 on Monday, having departed from the port of Lomé in Togo on July 4th. The vessel sailed continuously, which means that the stowaways spent more than six days perched on the pivot that changes the vessel’s course.

They were located after the ship was already docked at the Cristóbal Colón pier, where the Opcsa container terminal is located. The Salvamento Marítimo (Maritime Rescue) took charge of the operation to extract them from the narrow space where they were and transfer them ashore, which occurred around midnight using a Salvamar vessel and a Zodiac. From then on, the National Police took charge of the arrivals.

Hospitalisation and discharge
The men were subsequently transferred to a hospital in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria following the usual protocol in these situations. After spending the night under observation, they were discharged on Tuesday morning, and arrangements made for their return to the container ship, as the ship’s authorities are obligated to receive them back on board.

This is the second time in less than a month that an MSC container ship has arrived at the Port of Las Palmas with people perched on the helm. On June 17th, two Ivorian young men, aged 18 and 22, were discovered on a ship belonging to the shipping company after a six-day journey from Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, covering approximately 3,800 kilometres. The Italo-Swiss company, which owns the largest container terminal in the area of the capital of Gran Canaria, maintains regular routes with various coastal countries in the Gulf of Guinea. In November 2022, three young men arrived in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria perched on the helm of the Althini II tanker after an 11-day journey from Lagos, Nigeria.