Sixteen stowaways, 15 of them Nigerians and one Liberian national, were
arrested on a U.S-bound ship, “MV Colombia River’ by the Search and
Rescue personnel of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety
Agency (NIMASA) in conjunction with officers and men of the Nigerian
According to the Head, Corporate Communications Team
of NIMASA, Hajia Lami Tumaka, the arrest was carried out on Friday
November 4, at the Lagos Fairway Bouy following a distress signal sent
to the Regional Search and Rescue Coordination Centre based in NIMASA.
The centre, in turn, alerted the Nigerian Navy.
“The Navy immediately sent its vessel `NNS Karaduwa’ to the location of
`MV Colombia River’ where 16 stowaways were apprehended and one of them
sustained an injury on the shoulder while attempting to escape arrest.”
The injured stowaways was immediately taken away by the NIMASA rescue
team on its vessel ‘NIMASA Benue’ to the agency’s clinic for medical
treatment while the others were taken away by the Navy for profiling and
subsequent hand over to the security agencies for further
The crew of the Hong Kong flagged vessel, had initially thought that
they were under attack by armed pirates but preliminary investigation
showed that the persons on board the vessel were only intruders who hid
in the vessel to leave Nigeria in search of greener pastures in the U.S.
The stowaways are in custody and will be handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service for further action.