Four Nigerians, who claimed that they were fleeing economic hardship and political instability, were found huddled in a tiny space above a cargo ship’s rudder after a 14-day journey.
The men said they survived by drinking seawater and their own urine after running out of food and drink.
They moved from the shores of Lagos in the cargo ship on June 27, hoping to reach Europe but the ship was heading towards South America.
They were finally rescued by Brazilian federal police in the southeastern port of Vitória, Brazil.
According to Daily Mail, one of the men, 38-year-old Thankgod Opemipo Matthew Yeye, said in an interview: ‘It was a terrible experience for me. On board, it is not easy. I was shaking, so scared. But I’m here.’
35-year-old Roman Ebimene Friday, also said they rigged up a net around the rudder to stop themselves from falling in. When he looked down, he saw ‘big fish like whales and sharks’.
Two of the men have since been returned to Nigeria upon their request, while Yeye and Friday have applied for asylum in Brazil, Daily Mail reports.
‘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.
Narrating how he joined the ship, he said a fisherman friend rowed him up to the stern of the Liberian-flagged Ken Wave, docked in Lagos, and left him by the rudder, where he was surprised to see three other men desperate to leave the country.
He had never met his new shipmates and feared they could toss him into the sea at any moment.
He said the four men were terrified that the ship’s crew would toss them off if they were discovered.
‘Maybe if they catch you they will throw you in the water,’ he said. ‘So we taught ourselves never to make a noise.’
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