Four stowaways were discovered and rescued by crew members off the southeast coast of Brazil, after spending a harrowing 13 days concealed in a compartment on top of the rudder of a Liberia-flagged ship that embarked from Lagos, Nigeria.
The federal police confirming their safe retrieval said on Tuesday that the ship left Lagos on June 27 and the four stowaways had hidden in a compartment located in a submerged section of the ship.
Upon discovery, the four men, who claimed to be Nigerians, were found to be in good health and well-fed, but lacked documentation to confirm their nationality.
A police official told AFP, “The men rescued claim to be Nigerians, but they did not carry any documents confirming their origin.”
Meanwhile, in another incident, the Spanish coastguard successfully rescued two Nigerian migrants who had stowed away on the rudder of a ship arriving in the Canary Islands from Togo.
The migrants were found and brought to safety on Monday night in the port of Las Palmas and were immediately taken to a hospital for evaluation.
The Guardia Civil police confirmed that the migrants were 19 and 22 years old.
After being released, they were transferred back to the ship responsible for their return to Togo.
The port police tweeted, “The migrants were taken to a hospital. They were later released and were transferred back to the ship, which has to return them to their port of origin.”
Visual evidence shared by the Las Palmas maritime police on Twitter portrayed the precarious situation in which the two stowaways were found.
The images depicted them huddled on the rudder, beneath the ship’s hull and just above the waterline of the MSC Marta.
Investigations revealed that the MSC Marta’s last port before reaching the Spanish archipelago was Lome, the capital of Togo, hinting at the point of origin for the stowaways.
The ship, which had departed from Lagos, Nigeria, on July 2, made a stop in Togo on July 4, indicating that the migrants had remained onboard for at least seven days.
Under Spanish law, stowaways who do not seek asylum must be returned by the ship’s operator to the port of origin.
The Canary Islands, owned by Spain, continue to be a popular yet dangerous route for African migrants attempting to reach Europe, given its geographical proximity and significant maritime traffic in the region.
2 jóvenes nigerianos llegan al puerto en el timón de un 🛳. Fueron ayudados por @salvamentogob gracias al uso de una 🚤, para su posterior traslado por el #SUC a un 🏥
Toda vez que se han recuperado, han sido devueltos al 🛳, debiendo ser trasladados al puerto de origen 👮♀️👮♂️ pic.twitter.com/fodQyTYgbn
— Policía Portuaria APLP (@PoliciaAPLP) July 11, 2023