I paid N4,000 to be ‘smuggled’ into ship, says stowaway 

Ship captain, crew members throw two stowaways overboard


A stowaway, who identified himself as Denise Commander, said he paid N4,000 to a fisherman in Apapa to “smuggle him” into a ship heading to Spain.

A stowaway is someone who hides on a ship, airplane or other means of transportation in order to travel without paying or being seen.

Denise Commander, who is one of the stowaways arrested by the Nigerian Navy ship NNS Beecroft at the anchored in Apapa, said it was the fisherman who provided him with details of the ship and told him that it would take 14 days to get to Spain.

The nine stowaways were arrested after they were sighted clinging to the rudder of the vessel by naval operatives manning the maritime domain surveillance facility, Falcon Eye.

The vessel was at the Lagos Port Complex Apapa to discharge cargo and was at the Lagos anchorage area when the nine stowaways were apprehended.

The stowaways were said to have been in the cold at the anchorage area for five days waiting for the vessel to begin its journey.

Handing over the suspects to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Commander NNS BEECROFT, Commodore Kolawole Oguntuga, said they neither considered the risk to their lives nor the image of the country before embarking on the journey.

“They were found on the rudder blade, which is outside of the hull of the ship and is usually submerged. They would have died, considering the extreme exposure to the sea and wind. The swift and commendable efforts of the patrol team ensured the timely intervention and also helped to avoid what would have caused potential security threats associated with unauthorised access.

“The stowaways have been disembarked and handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service for necessary action. This incident highlights the crucial role of the Nigerian Navy in maritime security and upholding the rule of law, exemplifying the unwavering dedication under the leadership of Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, Chief of the Naval Staff,” he said.

Another stowaway named Arebo Aseko, who is a native of Ilaje in Ondo State, said he once took the dangerous journey from Nigeria to Italy through the desert but was deported after landing in the European country.

“I was deported from Italy after taking the risk to go on a journey through the desert to Libya and later to Italy. I thought this attempt would have taken me to Spain,” the 26-year-old said.

Economic hardships and lack of gainful employment are pushing Nigerians to the brink, forcing many to seek means of livelihood outside the shores of the country.

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