– Horrible to see that people are so desperate in the pursuit of a better life, chairman of the board of Champion Tankers, Karl L. Kvalheim.
Less than 20 minutes ago
When the ship “Champion Pula” arrived in Las Palmas, four men from Nigeria were discovered sitting at the helm.
It was NRK that first told the story of the blind passengers on the Bergen oil tanker.
Kvalheim in Champion Tankers tells BT that the four men had been hiding in a cavity behind the helm for ten days.
According to NRK, had unloaded in Lagos, Nigeria, and was on its way to Herøya in Porsgrunn to load liquid manure.
– A Spanish boat put the headlights on the rudder. Then we saw the men sitting there, says Kvalheim.
Lived in cavities behind the helm
He tells BT that there is a small cavity where the tiller goes up in the steering machine.
– It is not a big place the four men have lived in. Just below them, the propeller whips. They could easily have become fish food, he says.
The four people were discovered in Spain, but the authorities there would not take care of them. The boat was not allowed to travel further until it was decided what would happen to the men.
– Spanish authorities refused very much. We lay there for two days before we came to a decision, says Kvalheim to NRK.
Received help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In the end, the Bergen shipping company received help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association.
– The men went on to Norway and Herøya, says Kvalheim.
The quartet was arrested on arrival at Herøya on Saturday 17 October.
– I do not know what happens next, says Kvalheim.
The police’s immigration unit informs NRK that they cannot comment on individual cases.
– I think it’s awful to see people who are so desperate in the pursuit of a better life, Kvalheim says to BT.
He says that this is not the first time ships have taken passengers with them.
– But it is probably very rare that they hide behind the wheel. We will probably check our ships more thoroughly before they leave Nigeria from now on, he says.
According to NRK, the ship is insured with Gard insurance in Arendal.
The company confirms that they are aware of the incident, but do not want to comment on it further in the case.
Published: October 25, 2020 10:53 PM
Updated: October 25, 2020 11:11 PM
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