Twelve Nigerian Stowaways Rescue in Liberia

By Konah Rufus

Report from Grand Cess, Grand Kru County in southeastern Liberia says fishermen in that part of the country have rescued twelve Nigerians who were illegally traveling on board a Chinese vessel. The vessel, OPHELIA PANAMA, is said to have been headed for Japan.

They told officials about being stowaways who illegally boarded the Chinese vessel in an attempt to seek greener pastures in Japan.

Among those rescued were Emmanuel Beal, Mike Wilson, Precious Uwalogho, Igiebo Stephen, Soumo Yoel, and Temeta Adebiyi Adewale among others. According to them, they illegally boarded the vessel at Delta Port, Warri on September 7, 2022, to escape to Japan in search of greener pastures. They further attributed their grim voyage to the harsh economic situation they faced in their country.

The group spokesperson Emmanuel Beal said they were 14 in number that embarked on the vessel from Nigeria to Japan, but due to maltreatment by the crew onboard, two of their colleagues drowned while attempting to escape.

They alleged that the Captain of the MV OPHELIA PANAMA and his crew subjected them to severe torture by spilling chemicals on them, affirming that their two colleagues met their demise after they absconded from the ship and went into the open ocean.

He thanked the local fishermen of the coastal community for coming to their rescue. Beal said had they not been rescued by the fishermen of Grandcess, they all would have drowned.

Meanwhile, the 12 Nigeria have been handed over to the Liberia Immigration Service for further investigation.

According to the international maritime convention, ship masters and crew are required to lock up stowaways found onboard vessels, and treat them humanely until the next port call, where they are expected to be handed over to the immigration authorities for prosecution and possible deportation to their home countries.

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