On August 5th, 2023, the world was introduced to the astonishing tale of resilience demonstrated by two Nigerian stowaways as they battled unthinkable hardships during their two-week ordeal clinging to a ship’s rudder in the vast expanses of the Atlantic Ocean. Motivated by the desire to escape the adversities of economic hardship and political unrest back in Nigeria, these courageous individuals embarked on a perilous journey that spanned over 3,500 miles from Lagos to Vitória, Brazil.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, the stowaways bravely recounted the heart-wrenching journey that pushed them to the brink of survival. Stripped of food and water, these desperate men resorted to resourcefulness, ingeniously utilizing their own urine and seawater to sustain themselves as the cargo ship relentlessly charted its course toward South America.
Among the survivors, Thankgod Yeye, aged 38, shared his harrowing experience aboard the ship. He expressed, “The ordeal was beyond words. Life on board was incredibly tough. Fear gripped me, I was trembling. But I stand here now.” Roman Friday, 35, another survivor, vividly described how they ingeniously rigged a makeshift net around the rudder to prevent their potential plunge into the unforgiving ocean depths. Amidst the turmoil, they also recounted awe-inspiring encounters with majestic marine creatures, such as whales and sharks, adding another layer of surrealism to their adventure.
According to Punchng, the Enduring sleepless nights in the cramped confines and amid the ceaseless drone of the ship’s engine, the survivors were ultimately saved by the Brazilian federal police in the port of Vitória. Their relief and gratitude were palpable as they recounted their experiences at a sanctuary in Sao Paulo. While two of the survivors chose to return to Nigeria, Yeye and Friday have embarked on an asylum-seeking journey in Brazil, citing the dire economic conditions, political instability, and rampant crime in his Homeland.
Yeye, hailing from Lagos state and a Pentecostal minister, shared a heart-rending account of his peanut and palm oil farm being devastated by floods, leaving his family destitute. Friday’s odyssey commenced when a friend facilitated his reach to the stern of the Liberian-flagged Ken Wave, docked in Lagos. Joining three other hopefuls, they all clung to the aspiration for a better life on the same vessel.
Perspective from a Priest:
Father Paolo Parise, a clergyman at the Sao Paulo shelter, expressed profound astonishment at the extraordinary lengths individuals would go to in pursuit of a brighter future. He solemnly remarked, “People are driven to unthinkable and profoundly dangerous measures,” reflecting on the staggering risks the stowaways undertook.
The chronicle of these Nigerian stowaways stands as a powerful testament to the indomitable spirit of humanity when faced with adversity. Their remarkable survival defies all odds and serves as a poignant reminder of the profound lengths that people are willing to traverse in their quest to escape hardship and carve out a better existence.