A group of 13 stowaways was found hidden in two Maersk containers aboard a vessel which arrived at APM Terminals in Algeciras, Spain from Ghana, Maersk confirmed to World Maritime News.
The men spent two weeks inside two open-top containers aboard the Liberia-flagged boxship Panther, which departed Ghana on October 6, according to media reports.
“We can confirm that on October 16, during the port stay in Algeciras of the vessel Panther, a chartered vessel operating on Maersk Line’s WAF1 (West Africa) service from Takoradi, Ghana, 13 stowaways were found by terminal stevedores,” a Maersk spokesperson said.
Subsequently, local police were informed and the Spanish Red Cross provided medical assistance to the 13 men, after which their condition has improved.
They remain under medical observation and are currently attended to by guards and the vessels’ crew in the ship’s accommodation area while the authorities are verifying their identities, the spokesperson added.
According to the Spanish immigration law – unless any of the 13 men are confirmed to be of minor age – they will be repatriated to their countries of origin, Maersk informed.
AIS data from Marine Traffic shows that the vessel, which was scheduled to depart Algeciras on October 17, is still moored in the port.
World Maritime News Staff
Note: This article has been amended since its initial publishing with the figures provided by Maersk Line. The earlier version reported 16 stowaways were found, as informed by Spanish media.