• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Navy saves five stowaways from ship headed for Spain

MSC vessel now the latest to foil West African pirate attack

Five stowaways who snuck onto the MSC MARTHA, a Spain bound ship, were rescued by crew members of the Nigerian Navy Ship NNS Beecroft in Lagos.

The stowaways are Christian Joseph (age 25), Effiong Okon (44), Ayewuni Daniel (27), Ajagboma Asiko (29), and Adebanjo Ayewumi (29).

The Commander of NNS Beecroft, Commodore Kolawole Oguntuga, gave them over to the Nigeria Immigration Service and explained how they were detained on Wednesday.

He said, “About 11.50 pm on August 26, while on our normal routine check of vessels that were transiting in and out of Lagos harbour, we received a call from MSC MARTHA that they observed some unauthorised persons onboard the vessel.

“Immediately the information was received, we informed the Falcon Eye centre, which is the maritime Domain Awareness facility that we use in monitoring the entire maritime environment, which gave details of the information that enabled us to get the coordinates of the vessel.

Read also: Spanish police to return three Nigerian Stowaways

“On arrival, our men boarded MSC MARTHA and recovered the unauthorised persons, that is the stowaways. We took them out of the vessel and kept them in custody.

“Upon interrogation, they admitted they boarded the vessel through the rudder. The rudder is a structure at the bottom of the vessel, which controls the direction.

Two of them first entered. When the additional three came, they were surprised to see the first two persons there. But when they realised they had a common goal, they became friends and remained there with the intention of leaving the shores of the country to another country.”

Read also: Stowaway: Unaddressed security breaches put travellers at risk

According to Oguntuda, three mobile phones, packs of biscuits, sachet water, personal items, and N7,900 cash, were discovered on them.

The stowaways, for their part, bemoaned how difficult it was for them to provide for their families and themselves and blamed their move on the tough economy.

Okon said that after losing his job and trying everything to provide for his family failed, he decided to go down the risky route.