Ghanaian stowaways arrested in Angola

Some stowaway fishermen from Western and Central regions who were headed to the United States have been arrested in Angola.

The fishermen were allegedly thrown into the sea when they were discovered in the ship. But after surviving the scare they were arrested by the Angolan authorities.

It is not known the number of Ghanaians on the ill-fated journey to the U.S or the timelines between the start of the journey and the arrest.

However, one of the fishermen spoke to relatives in Ghana using a phone said to have been hidden under a mattress by one of the survivors. He said the survivors were part of about 500 prisoners in custody of the Angolan authorities.

The fishermen are appealing to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene to save them.

Stowaways often hide in containers, pumps, under the ship’s gyro compass, over cable-ways in many storage areas.

A captain of a ship is expected to comb the vessel in search of illegal passengers before leaving a dock.

For stowaways caught while seeking to enter the United States, rules require that they are locked up and treated in a humane manner.

They are handed over to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service once the ship arrives.

But the ship company is fined and made to pay the cost of repatriating the stowaways. In 2013, the average repatriation cost of each stowaway was about $22,000.

Some ship captains do not keep stowaways alive when caught, preferring to throw them out to drown rather than paying the cost of repatriating them.

The Foreign Ministry is yet to comment on the matter.


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