Migrants in Court for Trying to Hijack Thames Ship, Smearing Faeces on Bridge Windows


Four illegal migrants who tried to commandeer a ship in the Thames estuary have appeared in court.

Samuel Jolumi, 26, Ishola Sunday, 27, Toheeb Popoola, 26, and Joberto McGee, 20, are thought to have stowed away on the Grimaldi cargo ship Grande Tema in Lagos, Nigeria.

They were discovered by the ship’s crew partway into the journey — but escaped once it reached the iconic Thames Estuary which wends its way into London.

The would-be illegal migrants then armed themselves and tried to threaten the crew into bringing the ship closer to the shoreline so they could make a swim for it — potentially very dangerous, given its enormous size — and smeared faeces on the windows of the bridge after they refused and locked themselves in.

The situation was only brought to an end when the Royal Navy’s elite Special Boat Service (SBS) unit stormed the ship and took the migrants into custody.

“These are four Nigerian nationals who boarded a ship as stowaways, that ship was headed towards Tilbury in Essex,” said prosecutor Sam Doyle.

“They were discovered on that ship that had departed from Lagos in Nigeria and they were held in a quarantine cabin behind the bridge.

“The crew welded a set of bars over a porthole and secured bars over the exterior of the door.

“It is a working vessel and it wasn’t possible to have four stowaways left to roam the ship.

“On the morning of Friday 21st December they were quarantined and the bar fitted across the window was bent down allowing one of them to escape through the window and remove the bars across the door.”

Doyle received a 21-day adjournment after explaining to the judge that the case currently “appears to be under-charged”.

At present, the migrants are facing only being charged with the minor offence of affray.

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