The dangerous practice of stowaways hiding in a vessel’s rudder trunk

Discovering the stowaways

The tanker vessel, CHAMPION PULA, departed from Lagos in Nigeria on 25 September. After 10 days the vessel arrived Las Palmas for loading operations. To everyone’s surprise four stowaways were discovered by the Spanish port authorties sitting on the vessel’s rudder. For over 10 days they had survived on the open sea, close to the propeller, with minimal food and water. Gard’s member, Champion Tankers AS of Bergen, was unaware of their presence on the vessel as it was not possible to access the rudder trunk from the ship.

The Spanish port authorities and the Red Cross arranged for medical examination the stowaways. Although they were affected by the situation they had been through, their medical condition was found to be satisfactory and the port authorities ordered the vessel to keep the stowaways on board and would not permit repatriation.

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