Four stowaways have been found alive in the rudder trunk of a Liberian-flagged ship after a 5,000 nautical mile voyage from Nigeria to Brazil.
The stowaways were located on Monday morning by Brazilian Federal Police after the ship arrived in Vitória, the capital city of Epirito Santo. The vessel, which has not been identified by name, reportedly departed Lagos, Nigeria thirteen days earlier on June 27.
The stowaways, who claim to be Nigerian citizens, were unable to provide any documents to verify their origin and identities.
The men were taken ashore and provided medical care due to their poor health condition. They will now remain under the custody and responsibility of the Maritime Agency until they can be repatriated to their home country.
Stowaways and smuggling within the steering gear trunk, a concealed space above the rudder that can only be accessed from the outside of the ship, pose a well-documented and often fatal problem within the maritime industry. In a recent incident in November, three stowaways were rescued in Spain’s Canary Islands after enduring an 11-day journey on the rudder of a fuel tanker originating from Nigeria. A similar incident in 2019 prompted the Swedish Club to issue an industry alert, highlighting the urgency of addressing this ongoing issue.
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