Three migrants stowed away on a ship's rudder for 11-day voyage from Nigeria

Originally published at: Three migrants stowed away on a ship's rudder for 11-day voyage from Nigeria | Boing Boing


I’m terrified for them, seeing that photo. Nevermind what that rudder was like on the open sea - unless I’m mistaken, that thing HAD to have submerged at least once during rough waves?


wow. talk about traveling in steerage!
super frikkin scary. those poor people are that desperate to escape to some perceived better life that they - or, closer to home here - the Cubans and Haitians making the very dangerous passage to the Florida Keys in homemade makeshift vessels of vaying condition and seaworthiness.
very heartbreaking, all around.


Note to Elon - that’s what hardcore really looks like.


The maritime version of stowing away in the landing gear compartment of an airplane.

I’m not sure which scares me more-- 11 hours at altitude, or 11 days just inches from being thrown overboard. And the risk of death by exposure in both cases, one quick, one long.


Reminds me of something similar, a Nigerian hiding in airplane landing gear to try to get to Europe. The risks they are willing to take to get out of Nigeria.


i don’t think your wrong . in deep water it takes around 30-35 mph winds to get to 3 ft swells. I’ll bet they kissed the ground when they got to land.


I can’t even imagine how horrible this trip was.


Clearly they were extremely lucky with the weather conditions, otherwise they would have washed away with nobody even knowing they had ever been there. And when ‘lucky’ is ‘didn’t die during an 11-day ocean crossing with zero shelter or other basic needs covered, less than a meter from the water’, that tells us something about just how horrible the situations these people are running from are.


Replying to my own post here, there’s even a Wiki article about landing gear stowaways. Incredibly, 24% of them survive it. Medicine isn’t sure how this is even possible. Somehow in the survivors the body “hibernates” and consumes less oxygen. Most of them are illegal migrants who obviously don’t understand how low the chance of survival is.


Holy shit, how do you hang on to a rudder for 11 freaking days? Doesn’t it flap around? When do you sleep? I cannot believe that people survive this


I’m hoping they strap-secured themselves to the rudder’s post (what the rudder hinges around), otherwise… gawd damn.


Especially on a ship this size the rudder would be mostly fixed in place relative to the hull - otherwise it wouldn’t help direct the ship, after all. Course corrections on a ship this size aren’t likely to be very sharp or rapid, so they’d have time to adjust. My guess is they’d have to sleep in shifts to make sure none of them fell off in their sleep. There is literally no part of this that isn’t immensely messed up.


In a world that allows the free movement of goods and capital, but rescricts the movement of human beings…


Others probably didn’t.

However, it does look possible from the picture, doesn’t it? There is this little shelf on top of the rudder. It’s not comfortable, but some can lie down while others can sit. They may have had a small boat and luggage when they started.

What about sea waves? If the sea is not too rough, and the ship leaves a clear wake, the rudder will be in the turbulent wake. There, the bulk of the ship and its motion protects them from most sea waves when the ship is up to speed and travelling in a straight line. If the ship is pitching on large sea waves, then they are screwed, but if you watch the weather reports, you should be able to pick a week’s calm weather which will get you most of the way to the Canary Islands.

They made it. Maybe they are smarter and less rash than we think.


A link on Reddit explained that there is an area above the rudder where they can sit in for the trip. Use of Rudder Trunk for Smuggling – Officer of the Watch


Very helpful, thanks! (It still seems insane, though)

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.