Reports by the graphic online suggest that some seven Nigerian stowaways have been arrested at the Tema port. The stowaways who were aboard a Chinese vessel travelling from Nigeria to South Africa have been arrested after the vessel made a stopover at the port to offload cargo meant for a Ghanaian importer.Stowaways are often economic migrants who hide themselves aboard vessels. They sometimes do so in collusion with a ship’s crew who sometimes charge them huge sums.
Mr Paul Ansah Asare,the Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Tema Port mentioned that the suspects were arrested on August 25, 2015 on board MV Guo Tuo 108, after two of them disembarked, thinking that they were in South Africa instead of Ghana. He added that a further onboard search by the Port Security Intelligence Department found the other five hiding in the hatch of the vessel. Investigations revealed that seven culprits boarded the vessel in Nigeria since they thought it was headed for Johannesburg without knowing that the vessel would first call at the Tema Port.
“Our intention is to seek greener pastures in South Africa due to the unfavorable economic conditions in Nigeria presently”, the stowaways told the security officials”
In further developments,Mr Ansah, expressed worry that punishment for stowaways in the country was not deterrent enough, as those caught were made to pay only GH¢250 as fines. He expressed regret that the suspects who were handed over to Immigration Service officials were sent to the Nigerian High Commission to be repatriated instead of being prosecuted by the police.
He wondered why Ghanaians stowaways who were caught were prosecuted but foreigners were given preferential treatment.
“In other jurisdictions, stowaway activity attracts fines ranging between $5,000 and $10,000,” he pointed out.
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