Four Nigerians survived 14 days in a ship’s rudder to Brazil, which has been explained by welfare volunteers as a dangerous way to travel.
This was disclosed in a report by Reuters on Tuesday afternoon after an interview with the stowaways by a volunteer agency, the report revealed that the stowaway’s journey across some 5,600 kilometres (3,500 miles) of ocean underlines from June 27, when they have rowed him up to the stern of the Liberian-flagged Ken Wave, docked in Lagos.
38-year-old Thankgod Opemipo Matthew Yeye revealed in the interview that his journey to Brazil began on June 27, when a fisherman friend rowed him up to the stern of the Liberian-flagged Ken Wave, docked in Lagos, and left him by the rudder, the report added:
“He found three men already there, waiting for the ship to depart.
“He had never met his new shipmates and feared they could toss him into the sea at any moment.
“Once the ship was moving, Friday said the four men made every effort not to be discovered by the ship’s crew, who they also worried might offer them a watery grave.
“Maybe if they catch you, they will throw you in the water,” he said, adding: “So we taught ourselves never to make noise.”
To prevent themselves from falling into the water, the men said they rigged up a net around the rudder and tied themselves to it with a rope, adding that they could see “big fish like whales and sharks” when they looked down.
Father Paolo Parise, a priest at the Sao Paulo shelter, said he never heard a stowaway story so dangerous, citing that this is one of the few extreme case people will go to in search of a new start.
Yeye also described it as a terrible experience, the report said:
“On their tenth day at sea, the four Nigerian stowaways crossing the Atlantic in a tiny space above the rudder of a cargo ship ran out of food and drink.
“They survived another four days, according to their account, by drinking the sea water crashing just metres below them, before being rescued by Brazilian federal police in the southeastern port of Vitoria.
“It was a terrible experience for me,” Thank god Opemipo Matthew Yeye, said, in an interview at a Sao Paulo church shelter.
“On board, it is not easy. I was shaking, so scared. But I’m here.”
The report said the stowaways were relieved at being rescued, adding that they boarded the ship hoping to reach Europe and were shocked to learn they had landed on the other side of the Atlantic, in Brazil.
The report added that 2 of the men have since been returned to Nigeria upon their request, adding that Yeye and Roman Ebimene Friday, a 35-year-old applied for asylum in Brazil.
Roman Friday said he prays the government of Brazil will pity him.
Reasons for escape
Roman Friday claims he had already attempted to flee Nigeria by ship before but was arrested by authorities, Mathew Yeye also noted that they left due to economic hardship, political instability, and crime.
Yeye also claims that his peanut and palm oil farm was destroyed by floods this year, leaving him and his family homeless.
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