A Member appears to have been targeted by a criminal organisation stowing illegal immigrants in open-top containers bound for Europe from a Turkish port.
Members with Europe-bound ships operating from Turkish ports should have their crew remain vigilant, paying particular attention to open-top containers. The latest incident involved an open-top container stuffed with machinery, but we have been advised that previous incidents involved open-top containers stuffed with ‘float glass’, which allows plenty of room for stowaways.
Of particular concern is an incident involving twenty-nine stowaways (men, women and children), which resulted in the arrest of the master, first officer and boatswain. It is understood that security at the port of Mersin is poor, and the Member is exercising all possible precautions to prevent stowaway incidents at the port. It is hoped that local authorities are investigating a known criminal organisation which appears to be specialising in smuggling people into containers to be loaded to ships. We do not suspect the involvement of the ships crew in these incidents.
With little support from the terminal, and in order to prevent serious consequences arising from stowaway incidents, the Member is applying the following preventative measures:
· Container checks (fully loaded or empty) under the hook, together with port agents and customs
· Private security guards employed
· On board security measures increased
It is hoped that local authorities will put in place measures to prevent stowaway incidents, but until action is taken, if any, Members are advised to take what steps they can in order to prevent stowaways boarding.
Source of information:
Loss Prevention Department
UK P&I Club
Tel: +44 20 7204 2217