Three African kids sneak into Dubai-bound vessel

DUBAI — Three children who reportedly tried to escape from Ethiopia by hiding in a cargo ship's engine room, are finally expected to reach UAE today evening as the vessel sails from India towards Mina Al Saqr port in Ras Al Khaimah.

By Riyasbabu (Our staff reporter)

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Published: Mon 14 Apr 2008, 9:29 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:49 PM

The vessel carrying general cargo left the Ethiopian port of Djibouti for India on March 23. The vessel is owned by a Dubai-based shipping company.

Captain Vohra, insurance surveyor of the Dubai-based shipping company, said the captain and crew members of the vessel were surprised to spot the three boys hiding in the engine room. "They climbed the rocks to enter into the Djibouti port and managed to sneak into the engine room of the ship. The vessel left the Djibouti port and was heading for the Indian port of Kandla in Gujarat when the crew spotted the three boys aged 11, 12 and 13 years," Vohra disclosed.

"The vessel had sailed a long distance when the boys were spotted," he said, explaining why the crew were unable to off-load the children at the port of origin.

Two days ago when the vessel docked in Kandala Port in Gujarat, the crew alerted the local port authorities with a view to off-loading them and repatriating them back home. However, lack of necessary documents and limited time refrained the Indian port authority from proceeding with the repatriation formalities.

Vohra said that after a two-day stopover in India, the ship is now heading for the port in Ras Al Khaimah and is expected to dock by Monday evening. "We have contacted the Ethiopian consulate in Dubai and met with the officials who have offered to come with us and meet the children in Ras Al Khaimah," he said.

The Ethiopian consulate has offered to issue temporary travel documents to the children to help them go back home. However, the travel expenses will be borne by the Dubai-based shipping company, Vohra noted.

The children have been identified as Tade Gaffer Ali (11), Faisal Ibrahim (12), Awle Gaffer Ali (13).

According to Vohra, the children had tried to escape their country. "But we do not know what prompted them to do it."

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