2 Teenagers in police grip for stowaway attempt

BY: Benjamin Xornam Glover
Library photo
Library photo

Two teenagers are in the custody of the police in Tema for attempting to stow away to Belgium.

The two, aged 15 and 16, were intercepted midway their voyage aboard MSC Dymphia vessel from San-Pedro in Cote d’Ivoire to Antwerp in Belgium.

They were found hiding in the engine compartment of the vessel during a routine inspection by the crew and were later handed over to another vessel, MSC Katyanyni, at the port of Antwerp in Belgium which was bound for the Tema Port.

The pair, who are said to hail from Takoradi and Cape Coast in the Western and Central regions, had no travel documents on them.

According to the Tema Regional Commander of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Assistant Commissioner of Immigration (ACI) Ms Belinda Adwoa Sika Anim, the two had been handed over to the police in Tema.

She indicated that the two teens during interrogation revealed that they hailed from Takoradi and Cape Coast, adding that they were school dropouts who helped with farming and fishing.

She added that the two stated that they started their journey in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire with the intention of travelling to Europe in search of greener pastures and, therefore, clandestinely joined the voyage to Belgium. 

Five Nigerians also arrested 

The return of the two Ghanaian stowaway teens comes on the back of the arrests of five Nigerians who also attempted to stow away to Europe onboard M.V ZIM Rio Grande and CMA CGM Lapis from Tin Can Island Port in Nigeria.

The five were picked when the vessels docked at the Tema Harbour en route to Europe.

The GIS gave their names as Henry Okechuku, Jimmy Omorode and Nino Brown. The rest were Joseph Obasi and Hope Ekele.

According to ACI Sika Anim, the five had also been handed over to the police at the Tema Fishing Harbour after going through immigration processes of interrogation, nationality determination and taking of statement.

She said the five were currently awaiting travel certificates from the Nigerian High Commission for their repatriation to their home country and further action in accordance with standard practice.

The Tema Regional Commander of the GIS re-echoed the dangers associated with stowaway and cautioned Ghanaians, especially the youth, to refrain from such unproductive ventures.

Arrests so far

ACI Anim noted that the Command had so far recorded nine stowaway cases in the first half of the year with all involving males.

That, she said, was a worrying situation especially when such acts could lead to extreme injuries and deaths. 

ACI Anim called on relevant stakeholders to help stop the situation and assured the public that the Public Affairs Unit of the command would continue to sensitise the general public, especially the youth, to the dangers associated with irregular migration and educate them on the right way to travel.

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