Four Nigerians were saved in Brazil after 14 days on a ship’s tail

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Four Nigerians were saved whilst crossing the Atlantic in a very tiny space above the tail of a cargo ship in Brazil.

They survived the incidence for about 14 days, including four days where they were found drinking the sea water flowing just metres below them, after running out of food,right before the Brazilian federal police aved them in the southeastern port of Vitoria.

Their undeniable, death-defying journey across some 5,600 kilometers (3,500 miles) of ocean underlines the risks some migrants are prepared to take for a shot at a better life.

One of the four Nigerians, a 38-year-old man, named Thankgod Opemipo Matthew Yeye, said in an interview at a Sao Paulo church shelter; “It was a terrible experience for me,”

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“On board, it is not easy. I was shaking, so scared. But I’m here.”

Their relief at being saved soon enough gave way to surprise.

Reuters reports that the four men said they had hoped to reach Europe and were shocked to learn they had in fact landed on the other side of the Atlantic, in Brazil.

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Two of the men have since been returned to Nigeria upon their request, while Yeye and Roman Ebimene Friday, a 35-year-old from Bayelsa state, have applied for asylum in Brazil.

“I pray the government of Brazil will have pity on me,” said Friday, who had already attempted to flee Nigeria by ship once before but was arrested by authorities there.

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Both men said economic hardship, political instability, and crime had left them with little option but to abandon their native Nigeria.

Africa’s most populous country has longstanding issues of violence and poverty, and kidnappings are endemic.
Yeye, a pentecostal minister from Lagos state, said his peanut and palm oil farm was destroyed by floods this year, leaving him and his family homeless.

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He hopes they can now join him in Brazil.

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Friday said 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.

To his surprise, he found three men already there, waiting for the ship to depart. Friday said he was terrified.

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.”

Spending two weeks within spitting distance of the Atlantic Ocean was perilous.

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To prevent themselves from falling into the water, Friday said the men rigged up a net around the rudder and tied themselves to it with a rope.

When he looked down, he said he could see “big fish like whales and sharks.”
When he looked down, he said he could see “big fish like whales and sharks.”

Due to the cramped conditions and the noise of the engine, sleep was rare and risky.

“I was very happy when we got rescued,” he said.

Father Paolo Parise, a priest at the Sao Paulo shelter, said he had come across other cases of stowaways, but never one so dangerous.

Their journey paid testament to the lengths people will go to in search of a new start, he said.

“People do unimaginable and deeply dangerous things,” he observed.

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