The crew on board Eugen Maersk was surprised when they found five monkeys sitting on top of the containers, a couple of days upon departure from Tanjung Pelepas. The monkeys were mostly likely looking for land to go to, however, none was to be found as they were on a huge vessel in the middle of the sea. If only they knew that they were in fact being taken on a long cruise to Europe!
The primates came aboard Eugen Maersk while calling Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia (the PTP Terminal) on 1-2 August. They probably boarded the vessel with a container; it has been said that they may have been hiding behind the fan of a reefer container.
After the ship’s crew noticed them, they established a contact with Copenhagen Zoo. The crew sent the zoo authorities a few pictures of the primates to get more information on their type and food requirements. They were identified by the Copenhagen Zoo authorities as most likely to be long-tailed macaque monkeys. They were guessed to be including one older male, one younger male, likely two females and one youngster.
After getting the instructions from the zoo authorities, the crew members succeeded in catching all the five monkeys in the next 4 days and were kept in a makeshift cage where they were offered food. Before calling Rotterdam, the vessel and Maersk Line in Rotterdam have been in contact with the authorities to determine quarantine requirements, etc. to best ensure their health and safety while they were aboard the ship.
The monkeys have been released to the authorities at the Dutch monkey foundation, ‘Stichting AAP’. Although it’s an occurrence that’s not so common, this is not the first time that a monkey has been stowed away on a Maersk ship. Back in 2011, a monkey was found on the 8,160-teu Skagen Maersk.