By Biodun Busari
At least two Nigerians have been reportedly killed and thrown into the ocean while aboard the Ophelia Panana ship off the shores of Gbanken Beach in Grand Kru Town, Liberia.
A report from FrontPageAfrica on Tuesday said other 12 Nigerians escaped and were rescued by fishermen at the beach close to about five kilometres from Grand Cess City.
The report revealed that the dead victims were identified as Frank and Osas Velurobo.
Leaving illegally from Nigeria for Japan
According to a report, the ship was cruising to Japan, but the crew members discovered some Nigerian stowaways on board when they were close to some coastal towns in the country.
The crew members on the ship, believed to be Chinese nationals, reportedly killed the two men and dumped their bodies in the ocean.
However, others managed to swim on shore and were rescued though with multiple wounds on their bodies during the night and morning hours of September 11 and 12 respectively.
Speaking in an interview with FrontPageAfrica via telephone, the Head of the Joint Security Task Force in Grand Kru, Chris Teah, disclosed that the ship left Lagos, Nigeria about five days ago and passed through the area when the incident happened.
“The ship was less than a mile from the shore. Six Nigerians swam and came on shore. They told us that they were 14 Nigerians and they were told that they were going to Japan. They believed that the crew on the ship could be Japanese or Chinese because they look alike,” Teah said.
How they were discovered
He disclosed that the Nigerians were discovered in the ship after they were pounding on the ship to demand food from the crew.
They had spent five days without food and water while on the ship from Lagos.
Teah said further, “They were discovered up the deep sea by the crew. They (crew) sprayed hot water on them and two of their colleagues were killed. Six persons swam to get on shore.
“According to the Nigerians, they got on the ship secretly, but when they left Nigeria some five days ago, they went out of food. They started hitting the yacht so that the crew can get the information that people were on board the ship.
“The crew came and rescued them. They and the crew were like cool for like two days and the third day, they started maltreating them up to the time they hit the soil of Liberia.”
Teah disclosed that a Fanti boat from Grand Cess later went on the ocean to rescue the others who were thrown off the ship.
Some escaped and were rescued
“Four more persons were rescued from the ship directly and the last two were thrown into the ocean by the guys (crew). The two that were reported killed, we didn’t see them and we don’t know whether they were killed on the Liberian soil or it happened at deep sea.”
Teah pointed out that the last pair of Nigerians thrown into the ocean were also rescued on brought to shore alive, bringing the total number of persons rescued to 12.
According to him, those rescued are currently in the custody of the Joint Security in the county.
“The Nigerians told me that things were not actually working their way in Nigeria and so, they were actually going stowaway.”