Men rescued off Brazil after 35 days at sea tell of harrowing 3,000 -mile journey on which some drank urine to survive
In the working day after the food and water had run out, as the catamaran floated helplessly in the Atlantic with a snapped mast and broken motor, there was nothing left to do but pray, told Muctarr Mansaray, 27.
” I pray every day. I pray a lot at that particular moment. I don’t sleep at night ,” he told.
Mansaray and 24 other African migrants had set out from the African nation of Cape Verde in April, on what they were told by the two Brazilian crewmen would be a comparatively quick and easy voyage to a new country where they hoped to find work.
This weekend, they were rescued by fishermen 80 miles off the coast of Brazil, after an incredible 3,000 -mile journey across the Atlantic.
The humen, from Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau had been at sea for 35 days- the last few days without food and water.
Details have now begun to emerge of the men’s terrifying and chaotic voyage in a 12 -metre catamaran scarcely big enough for them to squeezing on. When food and water operated out, some even drank sea water and urine.
” After 35 days of journey in these conditions it is really lucky that nobody succumbed ,” told Luis Almeida, head of the federal police’s immigration department in Sao Luis, the capital of Maranhao state.
” There was not a cabin for all of them, so they were exposed to a lot of sun and solar radiation during these 35 days ,” he told. The rescued humen were disorientated, dehydrated and some had problems seeing after so long exposed to second-hand glare of sunshine reflected on the waves.
Almeida said the case was unprecedented: African stowaways have been found on cargo ships in Maranhao ports before, but this was the first time a boatload of migrants had arrived in the nation. The two Brazilians also on the boat were arrested for promoting illegal immigrations.
The journey began in the island nation of Cape Verde, 400 miles west of Senegal.
Mansaray, a Muslim from Freetown in Sierra Leone, had moved there five years ago to study science and technology with hopes of becoming a educator. He analyse for two years but was struggling to pay his university fees and running as a cellphone repairman.
” They called me the cellphone doctor ,” he told the Guardian by phone from Sao Luis.
A friend who is a student in Sao Paulo told him he could study for free in Brazil’s biggest city and would be able to send fund home to his elderly parents and sister in Freetown.” I said, cool, that’s why I got that barge ,” he said.
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