Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft says it arrested 97 suspected stowaways onboard different foreign merchant ships that berthed in the country to discharge cargos in the last one year.
The suspects illegally boarded the ships to stowaway to different European countries before Navy personnel intercepted them.
Three of the suspects were arrested on Saturday, June 26, 2021, onboard MT SCF ALPHINE around the Lagos Anchorage.
Commander, NNS BEECROFT, Commodore Bashir Mohammed, while handing over the three of the suspects to officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service, said the arrest was part of efforts by the Nigerian Navy to rid the nation’s maritime space of all illegalities, including human trafficking.
Commodore Mohammed disclosed that the base’s pro-activeness and robust patrols in the last 12 months led to the arrests of 97 stowaways across Lagos waters, adding that all of them have been handed over to the NIS for prosecution.
According to him, “Relatedly, on Saturday, June 26, 2021 the Base Patrol team arrested three suspected stowaways onboard MT SCF ALPHINE around the Lagos anchorage.
“Preliminary investigations by the base revealed that all the stowaways accessed the vessel with the intention of illegally migrating to Europe.
“In line with the Standard Operating Procedure, the suspected stowaways were on Tuesday 29 June 2021 handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Services which was witnessed by the Nigerian Ports Authority Security Team represented by Mr. Bukar Kaumi.”
The ship’s commander also reiterated the commitment of the Base to securing Nigeria’s territorial waters in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo’s Strategic Directive of 2021-5.