Three stowaways repatriated to Ghana

Ghanaian stowaways get on board container ship, Kota Lumba. Credit: HASENPUSCH DIETMAR

A trio of Ghanaian stowaways has been repatriated after their voyage was cut short off the coast of Namibia last week.

The stowaways, Emmanuel Agyei, 45 years old; Akesse Francis Alan, 46 years old; and Samuel Yalley, 45 years old, all from Elmina in the central region of Ghana, said they boarded the Hong Kong-flagged container ship, Kota Lumba, in the port of Tema, Ghana, using a bamboo ladder on the blind side of the ship.

The vessel arrived at the port on 22 September, before sailing to Lome, Togo, and then heading south to Singapore.

They were caught when they left their hiding place in search of food and water after their rations ran out. The vessel berthed at Walvis Bay in Namibia, where the three stowaways were transferred to a sister ship, Kota Salam, for repatriation to Ghana.

On arriving back in their homeland, the three men told the Ghana News Agency that they did not know where the ship was headed.

In September 2019, the Tema port security manager, Colonel Joseph Malik Punamane, urged security agencies in other African countries to tighten security measures to prevent stowaways from boarding vessels.

This was after an 18-year-old Nigerian, Joseph Obaxi, was disembarked in Tema after he was found on the Panama-flagged vessel, Leon M. It was his seventh failed attempt.

In August 2019, seven stowaways were arrested in Tema in two separate incidents. Two of them were Ghanaian teenagers and the other five were Nigerians.