Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Australia probes stowaway deaths in ship from Morocco

Australian authorities are investigating the death of two stowaways found on board a bulk fertiliser carrier that sailed from Morocco and docked in Western Australia on Tuesday.

The two men died while hiding in the cargo hold of the Furness Karumba, which left the Moroccan port of Laayoune on Oct. 7 and docked at Kwinana, south of Perth, police said.

The bodies of the men, who have not been identified, were discovered on Oct. 31, when the 12,000-tonne ship was at sea.

Two other stowaways, who were found alive by the ship's crew, were helped off the Panamanian-registered vessel and taken to hospital, where their conditions are being monitored.

A police spokesman said the four men were found by chance when crew members were checking the ship's hull for possible damage last week.

He said the survivors, Moroccans aged 32 and 22, appeared emaciated and were lucky to have survived.

"Anyone who knows these bulk carriers knows there is not much breathing space in the hold. Given the cargo they were travelling with, they are extremely lucky to be alive," he said.


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