• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
businessday logo


Navy decries upsurge in stowaways in Lagos waters


…Says, 75 cases recorded in eight months

The Nigerian Navy (NN) has expressed concern over the upsurge in cases of stowaways in the Lagos waters.

In a statement signed by Adams Aliu, a commodore and director of Information, the Navy described the action as illegal, dangerous and a security threat to ship owners, saying that about 75 cases were recorded within eight months.

Read also: Navy extracts 9 stowaways from Spain-bound vessel

“For clarity, the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) defines a stowaway as someone who is secreted on a ship, or in cargo without the consent of the ship owners or the master or any other responsible person,” Aliu said.

He further explained that “Migration as a stowaway is illegal, dangerous and is considered a security threat to ship owners. In line with the strategic directive of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Emmanuel Ogalla, a vice admiral, the NN deployed advanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) equipment to vector Quick Response Teams (QRT) to all parts of Nigeria’s territorial waters. Consequently, the NN apprehended about 75 stowaways from August 2023 to April 2024.”

Listing the dates, vessels involved, number of cases, and locations, Aliu said: “In August 2023, there were five cases through Lagos channel in MMSC Martha; eight cases in September 2023 through Lagos Fairway Buoy, in Charminar Panama; 11 cases in October 2023, through Lagos channel in Gwangzhou Highway Panama; In November, there were eight cases through Lagos Fairway Buoy, in Natal; four cases in December through Lagos channel in Container Vessel Teme; there were another two cases in December through Lagos Fairway Buoy in Grande Guinea, the same December, there were also 14 cases through Lagos Channel in MT UOG Constantine, and three other cases through Lagos Channel in Front Altiers.

Read also: 9 Nigerian stowaways rescued from drowning in Gambia

“In February 2024, there were four cases of Stowaway in MT Chip through Lagos Channel; in March 2024, three cases were recorded through Lagos Channel in MT Advance Love; the same March, additional nine cases were recorded in Lagos Fairway Buoy through MT Lysias Valletta, and in April this year, four cases were recorded in Lagos Channel.”

According to him, “During the operations, the QRT carefully extracted the stowaways who had concealed themselves inside the rudder compartment of the vessels. All apprehended stowaways were handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in accordance with the established protocols for further necessary action.

“The NN wishes to enlighten the general public on the dangers of attempting to travel as a stowaway. These include severe legal consequences and significant health risks such as negative effects of harsh weather conditions, lack of food and water, injuries and even death. Hence, the NN uses this opportunity to discourage Nigerian youths from embarking on such misadventures.”