Working as a merchant mariner, stowaway stories were not new to me. I got my own story to tell on a vessel carrying two Ethiopian refugees back to the USA. This is not going to be a tale of woe and sympathy for refugees. It is a tale of woe for America – the great nation that once offered freedom and opportunity has turned into one beset by our vulnerability – to all the tired and poor that looks to take advantage of our liberal generosity.

I was working on a vessel that arrived in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. This is a port where they load camels with a single lifting strap and crane onto livestock vessels. This gives you a good idea to how primitive the port is.

Djibouti does not treat its fellow Africans graciously. They are detained in a manner far worse than in any American detention center. The refugee camp is located just outside the port. After the stowaways were on board it was clear that no country wanted to take them. The French, who administer some of the port’s operations, were happy to be rid of this problem. Prior to departure, six people actually got onboard and were caught and taken off the ship. The number that were caught trying to climb the anchor chain and board the ship were countless. Think of rats fleeing a sinking ship, but in the reverse, and you’ll get the idea.

So we set sail and two more refugees were discovered within 24 hours of departure. Normal protocol would be to notify customs immediately and return to Djibouti. But as the luck of the refugees would have it, the captain was a Ted Kennedy fan and a big liberal from Massachusetts. So he stonewalled and delayed notification and continued sailing towards the Suez Canal. By the time the notification was made, we were at an anchorage awaiting canal transit. There are enormous fees involved with this and the option of returning to Djibouti had passed.

To the Captain’s surprise, Egypt refused the landing of stowaways. We sailed through the canal with the stowaways detained on board. Upon arrival in Malta to receive fuel, landing of the stowaways was again refused . We were ordered to anchor our vessel as far out as possible, to ensure that the stowaways would not flee the vessel and swim ashore...