COUNTY NEWS: Baby born on ferry crossing to France

Captian Matthias Bidet holding baby Mustafa, with new mum Sukurat Adeola Abdul Salam and Sabine Licchesi
Captian Matthias Bidet holding baby Mustafa, with new mum Sukurat Adeola Abdul Salam and Sabine Licchesi

A baby boy was born midway across the English Channel after his mother unexpectedly went into labour on a ferry earlier this month.

Sukurat Adeola Abdul Salam was eight-and-a-half months pregnant when she boarded the Côte D’Albatre, a DFDS Ferry on its way to Dieppe, on October 7.

Baby Mustafa was born at 3.50am on a ferry crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe

Baby Mustafa was born at 3.50am on a ferry crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe

The expectant 34-year-old began experiencing stomach pains, which were identified as contractions, when the ship was still an hour and a half from its French destination.

The ship’s senior captain Matthias Bidet helped the London mother give birth to baby Mustafa at 3.50am as the ferry passed the Dieppe breakwater, according to a DFDS spokesperson.

According to the DFDS spokesperson, Captain Bidet also had support from Julien Pennanec’h - a nurse on board the ferry - and from a doctor at Purpan Hospital in Toulouse via phone.

The ship’s captain and father-of-five said: “The boat was already at maximum speed. I have young children myself, one is only six months old. I knew we had to prepare for a birth on board.”

Sukurat Adeola Abdul Salam with her new baby Mustafa

Sukurat Adeola Abdul Salam with her new baby Mustafa

Gemma Griffin, vice president of human resources for the ferry company, said: “I am extremely proud of Matthias. He clearly demonstrated his skills and competencies, not least the skills he has acquired from training and being a father of five.