Rwandan stowaways pulled from harbour
TWO Rwandan stowaways were rescued off Green Island yesterday after jumping from a ship they found was touring Asia instead of Africa.
The men were plucked from the water by the crew of a barge. They were last night in satisfactory condition in hospital.
The pair sneaked on to the cargo vessel Kapitan Formin in Richard's Bay, South Africa, on December 10 and were found hiding in an engine room two days later as the ship was heading for Hong Kong.
They told the ship's master they were trying to get to Tanzania.
A spokesman for the ship's agents in Hong Kong, Anglo Eastern Ship Management, said: 'They asked our master to drop them in a port where Tanzania has its own consulate office.' The 26 crew members on board the Liberian-registered 30,000-tonne cargo ship are all from the Ukraine.
On Tuesday, the ship entered Victoria Harbour and anchored off Green Island, but the pair were not allowed ashore.
A spokesman for the Immigration Department said: 'No travel documents were found on them. They claimed they were from Rwanda and did not want to go back.
'But they did not request to stay in Hong Kong or ask for political asylum.
'As they did not have valid travel documents, they were refused a permit to land in Hong Kong. We asked the ship's master to keep the pair on board. They will leave Hong Kong when it sails out of the territory.' The ship will leave Hong Kong for Taiwan this weekend.
The agency spokesman said the men were kept in a room but escaped at about 9.30 am yesterday.