This is the shocking moment four Nigerian migrants were discovered on top of a ship’s rudder that they had been living on for 14 days.
The men defied death by drinking sea water when they ran out of food during the 3,500-mile journey from their home country to Brazil.
They had hoped the cargo ship would take them to Europe but were shocked when Brazilian federal police found them sitting precariously on the rudder in the southeastern port of Vitoria.
One of the men, Thankgod Opemipo Matthew Yeye, described the journey as a “terrible experience”.
He said: “It was the first time, I (had) never tried that before. But because I had already made up my mind to leave, I just summoned the courage. But then it’s not easy. The sea, the ship, it was shaking. I was so scared.”
Another of the migrants, Roman Ebimene Friday, said his journey to Brazil began on 27 June, when a fisherman friend rowed him up to the stern of the Liberian-flagged Ken Wave, docked in Lagos, and left him by the rudder.
Friday found three men already there, who he had never met, waiting for the ship to depart.
He said he feared the three men could toss him into the sea at any moment but the four of them made every effort not to be discovered by the ship’s crew – or falling to their deaths into the ocean below.
To prevent themselves from falling into the water, Friday said the men rigged up a net around the rudder and tied themselves to it with a rope.
When he looked down, he said he could see “big fish like whales and sharks,” while sleep was rare and risky due to the cramped conditions and the noise of the engine.
They had run out of food and water on their tenth day at sea and had resorted to drinking sea water to keep them alive until they were rescued four days later.
Yeye and Friday said economic hardship, political instability and crime had left them with little option but to abandon their native Nigeria and they have now applied for asylum in Brazil.
The two other men have since been returned to Nigeria upon their request.
The story first appeared in Yahoo!