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Escape on a rudder

Escape on a rudder

Nigerian stowaways surprised to end up in Brazil

After 14 days at sea tucked into a tiny space above the rudder of a cargo ship and surviving on the seawater below them, four Nigerian stowaways have been rescued in the Brazilian port of Vitoria. This was a surprise for the men, who left financial and political instability in Nigeria in the hope of seeking asylum in Europe. Instead, they ended up on a ​​perilous 5,600-kilometre journey from Lagos, staying silent out of fear the crew would throw them overboard. “I pray the government of Brazil will have pity on me,” 35 year-old Roman Ebimene Friday, who was previously arrested for an earlier attempt to flee Nigeria by ship, told Reuters. If discovered, stowaways become the caretaking responsibility of the captain – and the financial responsibility of the shipping company. Although still a small minority of the thousands of migrants crossing on boats to the EU, stowaways are becoming more common as migrants take more desperate measures to find sanctuary. Not everyone is rescued. 

Photograph Brazilian Federal Police