Navy apprehends 75 stowaways in 8 months

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Nigerian Navy has decried the growing menace of stowaways in Lagos waters, saying it apprehended about 75 stowaways from August 2023 to April 2024.

This is contained in a statement by the Director of Information, Navy, Commodore Aiwuyor Adams-Aliu, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Adams-Aliu said the Nigerian Navy was concerned by the upsurge in cases of stowaways in Nigerian waters.

According to him, the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) defines a stowaway as someone who is secreted on a ship, or in cargo without consent of the shipowners or the master or any other responsible person.

He said that migration as a stowaway was illegal, dangerous and was considered a security threat to shipowners.

Adams-Aliu said the Navy had, in line with the strategic directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, deployed advanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) equipment to vector Quick Response Teams (QRT) to all parts of Nigeria’s territorial waters.

He said the Nigerian Navy apprehended five stowaways in August 2023 on MSC Martha Vessel in Lagos Channel; eight on Charminar Panama in September 2023 in Lagos Fairway Buoy and 11 on Guangzhou Highway Panama in October 2023 in Lagos Channel.

He said that eight stowaways were apprehended on NATAL in November 2023 in Lagos Fairway Buoy and 20 in December 2023 on Container Vessel TEME, Grande Guinea and MT UOG Constantine, all in Lagos Channel and Lagos Fairway Buoy.

According to Adams-Aliu, a total of 23 stowaways were apprehended between January and April, all in Lagos Channel and Fairway Buoy.

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“During the operations, the QRT carefully extracted the stowaways who had concealed themselves inside the rudder compartment of the vessels.

“All apprehended stowaways were handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in accordance with the established protocols for further necessary action.

“The NN wishes to enlighten the general public on the dangers of attempting to travel as a stowaway.

“These include severe legal consequences and significant health risks such as negative effects of harsh weather conditions, lack of food and water, injuries and even death.

“Hence, the NN uses this opportunity to discourage Nigerian youths from embarking on such misadventures,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi

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