Stowaways Cross Atlantic on Rudder

From NYT By Julia Vargas Jones Aug. 10, 2023

The four stowaways aboard a cargo ship had no idea where they were when they were met by federal police officers last month at a Brazilian port. Told they had landed in Brazil, they were stunned.

They had hopped on the ship while it was docked 3,500 miles away — in Lagos, the most populous city in the West African nation of Nigeria.

They didn’t know where it was going but didn’t care. They were jobless and desperate, they said, and wanted to go anywhere that might offer better prospects.

After rowing out to the vessel, the Ken Wave, they said they climbed into an unlikely space: the 6-foot by 6-foot opening containing the rudder.

Recounting their harrowing journey to The New York Times, they said they spent 14 days crossing the Atlantic Ocean, leaning on cold metal, terrified of falling into the churning waters just below their feet. Sometimes, they spotted sharks.

“We were so scared, we just kept on praying,” said one of the men, Roman Ebimene Friday.

On day nine, they said they ran out of food and water. “We licked toothpaste and drank seawater just to have strength,” Mr. Friday said in a telephone interview from a shelter in São Paulo, Brazil, where he was staying.

When we informed them we were the federal police of Brazil, they made this face like, ‘Huh, we’re in Brazil?’” said Rogerio Lages, chief of the federal police’s maritime division in the state of Espírito Santo, where the cargo vessel docked.

His unit was summoned to the port of Vitória, about 350 miles north of Rio de Janeiro, on July 10 after a boat ferrying fresh crew members to the Ken Wave spotted the migrants on the rudder, pleading for help.

Two of the men asked to be sent back to Nigeria, Brazilian authorities said, but Mr. Friday and the fourth stowaway, Thankgod Opemipo Matthew Yeye, decided to stay and have applied for refugee status.

Mr. Friday, 35, who is from Bayelsa, a state in the Niger Delta, a polluted petroleum-producing region, said he had been looking for work in Lagos for almost two years, hoping to help support his widowed mother and his three younger siblings…
(Edited from longer article)


This is the stuff of nightmares.

Lucky they didn’t forget the toothpaste.

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I thought the hippies and do-gooders ended all this poverty stuff in foreign countries? Who would think in 2023 there would be people willing to hang on a ship’s rudder to escape?

Obviously, the world needs more green energy to solve this issue.


Yes quite amazing that such poverty still exist in foreign countries:

Robert Mason, a 56-year-old homeless man, warms up a piece of doughnut over a bonfire he set to keep himself warm on Skid Row in Los Angeles, on Feb. 14, 2023.

I knew we could count on you to say something like that!


Eurotrash. Pay it no mind.


That bonfire doesn’t look very carbon-neutral

The government should give them a wind turbine or some solar panels

Or a paying job in a shipyard.


Yes quite obviously some lack of knowledge here that need correction.
To you 98% of the world’s population are “foreigners”, living in “foreign countries”, but to the same 98% USA is a “foreign country”.
The homeless people in LA are as “foreign” to the majority in the world as the homeless in Lagos, or as those 4 guys on the rudder.

BTW; When it comes to poverty, the US is not doing too good when compared to other OECD countries:

You mean this TV series?:

It is a comedy, not meant to be taken serious.

Damn, I totally forgot that Europe does not have any issues with poverty, violence, riots, and random car fires.


Nobody said that none of the 44 countries on the European continent have an issue with poverty and inequality. They ALL have, but to different degrees. Some take that issue more serious than others.
As for violence and riots, just look at the news from France lately.
BTW; I referred to OECD countries, a club of mostly rich countries, not only European countries.

Did you mean “random firing at cars”?
If so, no, it is not much of a problem in Europe. (Except in Ukraine at the moment)

We use to have “insane asylums” where crazy people were kept locked away, fed, sheltered and treated. Today, crazy people have a lot of rights, including the right to refuse shelter, food, and treatment to go live on the streets. Many of them are drug addicts. This is most of the homeless population.

There are relatively few “poor people” living on the streets solely for economic reasons. There are many social services that provide shelter or rent money. The people who are not crazy avail themselves of these services.


No, I mean exactly what I wrote, which was random car fires. HINT They might not actually have been random.

Car fires happens everywhere and unexpectedly.
In France it apereas to be part of the riots to torch cars, but still random.
Hint?? Prey tell.

Thank you Ronny Raygun, your legacy is the condition of inner city San Francisco, LA, and Oakland.

Another factor in the current homeless crisis in cities, are the open borders and sanctuary cities policies that have invited in millions of poor immigrants.

Many US cities, San Francisco, and especially Oakland, among them, are well on their way to becoming Third World shitholes. That has a lot more to do with Willie Brown, Kamala Harris, and Gavin Newsome, than it does with former President Reagan, who left office 35 years ago.

I was not particularly impressed with Reagan at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight, he was much more effective than any of his predecessors. I could say that about any President after Johnson and Nixon, except Carter (who was the worst President since Hoover).

Reagan did not create the ever growing drug problem. Purdue Pharma, opioids and Chinese fentanyl came long after Reagan. In fact, China was not a problem when it was being isolated by Reagan. Neither was Russia, as Reagan was aiding the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Canadian cities never had any homelessness until recent years. Now they have some. Perhaps 5% of what US cities do. In Canada, the great majority of homeless that I’ve seen are older men.


People trapped in the biased political blame game would rather burry their heads in the sand and point fingers at dead people and defunct administrations than admit the reality that the policies they endorse and the politicians they admire are killing people and destroying America’s urban centers.
You can’t make up a more textbook worthy example of deflection and the strawman argument.

@Steamer: Are you confused? Besmirching Ronny Raygun’s legacy, which had very little if anything to do with the crazy people that roam the streets of L.A., S.F., and Oakland, is not the answer to their problems.

My gCaptain friend @Steamer is a good man. We just disagree about politics. That’s ok.


Getting back to the problem of stowaways. This could be cured with an International treaty that requires that virtually all stowaways be given six months at hard labor in prison, then be returned to their country of origin in chains.

Once the word spread about how bad US prisons are (they are little more than factories that create monsters out of most who enter), and that return to home country inevitably follows, stowaways would no longer want to come to the US.