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Sunday, April 08, 2001

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Indian stowaway found in Brazil-bound cargo ship

BEIJING, APRIL 7. Authorities and crew of a Brazil-bound foreign cargo ship are in a dilemma after they discovered an `Indian' stowaway, who risked his life by hiding inside the ship's anchor hole.

Mr. Deenadayalan, 18, apparently hailing from Tamil Nadu was found hiding on March 23, three days after the ship left Chennai Port.

The youngster who speaks fluent Tamil, claims he is an orphan. He does not have any travel document to prove his identity or nationality.

But he told the Chinese immigration authorities in Tianjin that he is an `Indian' and studied in a school in Trichy, Tamil Nadu.

He also told them that he wanted to go to Japan.

He worked last at the Chennai Port and someone there told him that the particular ship, owned by a Hong Kong-based company, was bound for Japan. He had only Rs. 6 on him and survived for three days on a packet of `mixture' (an Indian snack).

However, when the mixture was over, he felt hungry and managed to climb up to the deck. Someone immediately alerted the crew and he crawled back to the anchor hole.

Though the crew searched every inch of the cargo hold, they could not find him. At last someone went down into the anchor hole with a torch and discovered Mr. Deenadayalan.

A crew from the ship said that the youth was lucky that the ship didn't drop its anchor when he was hiding inside the anchor hole.

``If the ship had dropped its anchor, he would have surely died without even being noticed,'' he said.

Though the crew are treating him well, they are pressing the Chinese officials to take care of him. The latter have, in turn contacted the Indian Embassy here.

Since the youth has no passport or any identification paper, the authorities here have expressed their inability to accept him.

Based on what he told officials, the embassy is contacting Tamil Nadu Police to help identify the youngster.

Since the ship cannot wait till a reply comes, the shipping company has agreed to take the youth to Brazil.

By the time the ship reaches Brazil the company hopes Indian authorities would identify the person and hand over him to competent authorities there.

Meanwhile, the youth is not whiling away his time. ``He sometimes prepares south Indian delicacies for us,'' a crew member said.

- PTI

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