4 Nigerian Stowayways Survived 14 Days On Ship’s Rudder, Finally Rescued

Brazilian federal police reportedly rescued four stowaways from Nigeria, who survived almost 14 days stuck in a cramped area above a cargo vessel’s rudder. For the last four days, they lived by drinking seawater that crashed meters below while travelling across the Atlantic.

The four individuals could cover approximately 5,600 km of the ocean on a life-threatening voyage that reflects some of the critical risks some migrants are up to take for one chance at a better life. One of the four Nigerians named Thankgod Opemipo Matthew Yeye said it was a horrifying experience and not easy on board. Their surprise at being saved gave way to relief.

Per Reuters, the four individuals claimed they wanted to travel to Europe. However, they were astounded to discover they had arrived in Brazil, on the Atlantic’s other side.

Since then, two men have returned to Nigeria while 35-year-old Yeye and Roman Ebimene Friday from Bayelsa state requested refuge in Brazil. Both these men had decided to abandon Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, owing to the economic crisis, crime, and political instability, citing long-standing violence, endemic kidnappings, and poverty.

Video Credit: @SkyNewsAustralia/ Youtube

Yeye, a Pentecostal minister from Lagos, lost a peanut and palm oil farm to heavy floods, leaving him and his family members homeless. He also hopes that his family can join him in Brazil. In the meantime, Friday set out for Brazil on 27 June and was rowed up to the stern of the Liberian-flagged vessel dubbed the Ken Wave in Lagos by a fisherman friend who had left him by the rudder. He was surprised to find three men waiting for the vessel to depart and was terrified as he’d never met the individuals before and feared that they could easily toss him into the sea.

When the vessel started moving, the four individuals, according to Friday, tried to avoid being seen by the crew members, who they feared could provide them with a watery grave. He said they would throw him in the water if they could catch him. So they taught themselves not to make a noise. Two weeks of being near the Atlantic Ocean felt dangerous.

The individuals rigged a net around the rudder to avoid falling and tied themselves with a rope. They saw sharks and whales. They rarely could sleep due to engine noise and cramped conditions. Father Paolo Parise, associated with the Sao Paulo shelter, praised the case of these stowaways and the extent to which humans can seek a new start. He attributed such a journey to the hazardous and unimaginable things people attempt to do.

Reference: Reuter, GEO, MSN

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