Brazilian Rescuers Save Four Nigerians After 14 days Struggle on Ship's Rudder

Brazilian Rescuers Save Four Nigerians After 14 days Struggle on Ship’s Rudder

Brazilian Rescuers Save Four Nigerians After 14 days Struggle on Ship's Rudder

Four Nigerian stowaways embarked on a journey that would test the limits of human endurance and demonstrate the lengths to which some are willing to go in search of a better life. They attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean, stowing away in a tiny space above the rudder of a large cargo ship. On the 10th day of their maritime journey, their supplies ran out, and they were forced to survive on nothing more than the sea water that crashed just meters below them. Their ordeal continued for an additional four days until their rescue by the Brazilian federal police in the south-eastern port of Vitória.

The extraordinary story of their survival, traversing approximately 5,600 kilometers (3,500 miles) across the unforgiving expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, illustrates the grave risks some migrants are prepared to endure in the pursuit of the hope for a more prosperous life.

One of the survivors, 38-year-old Thankgod Opemipo Matthew Yeye, reflected on their desperate plight in a chilling account shared at a São Paulo church shelter. He described the experience as terrifying, stating, “I was shaking, so scared. But I’m here.”

The men had embarked on their voyage with the intention of reaching the shores of Europe, but to their surprise, they discovered they had instead landed on the opposite side of the Atlantic, in Brazil. Following their discovery, two of the men opted to return to Nigeria, while Yeye and another survivor, Roman Ebimene Friday, a 35-year-old from Bayelsa state, have sought asylum in Brazil.

Friday, who had previously attempted to flee Nigeria by ship but was apprehended by authorities, echoed Yeye’s sentiments. He expressed his hope for a compassionate response from the Brazilian government, stating, “I pray the government of Brazil will have pity on me.” Both men spoke of the harsh economic conditions, political instability, and the rampant crime that they faced back in Nigeria, circumstances that left them with no other choice but to leave their native country behind.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, grapples with ongoing issues of violence and poverty, with kidnappings being a widespread problem. Yeye, a Pentecostal minister hailing from Lagos state, relayed how his peanut and palm oil farm had been destroyed by floods, rendering him and his family homeless. He now hopes his family can join him in Brazil.

Friday’s voyage to Brazil started on the 27th of June, when a friend, who was a fisherman, rowed him to the stern of the Ken Wave, a Liberian-flagged ship docked in Lagos. Upon climbing onto the ship, he was startled to find three other men already there, all waiting for the ship to depart. As the ship began to move, the men all made a pact to keep quiet and not get discovered by the ship’s crew, knowing that being found could potentially lead to a life-threatening situation.

In order to prevent themselves from falling into the sea, the men constructed a net around the rudder and secured themselves to it with a rope. They witnessed large sea creatures such as whales and sharks swimming below them, and the cramped conditions, combined with the constant noise of the engine, made sleep a rare and risky occurrence.

The tale of their survival comes from Father Paolo Parise, a priest at the São Paulo shelter where the men are staying. He remarked on the unimaginable lengths people are prepared to go to in search of a new life, noting the extraordinary danger that the four men faced in their quest to find a better life, describing it as unprecedented in his experience with other cases of stowaways.

1 comment
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts