The Club has witnessed an increase in cases of drugs found on board members vessels. It is on this point the Club would wish to reinforce the importance of having effective security measures in place to limit the risk of a vessel unwittingly being used to smuggle drugs.
The quantities of drugs found onboard vary widely from small amounts carried on a stowaways person to vast amounts smuggled and stowed onboard a ship.
It is mandatory for a vessel to have a comprehensive security plan under the ISPS code. However the plan and policies must be properly carried out if they are to be effective.
As the drugs must be carried onboard a ship the means of access to the ship should is the first concern. Areas such as the Hawse pipe on the fo’c’stle are often overlooked and may well have been left free and open as the anchors will have been cleared prior to port entry. The hawse pipe should be secured, as illustrated, to prevent unwanted ‘visitors’ to the vessel. The Spurling pipe leading to the chain locker should also be secured as the locker may be a convenient hiding place for either people or packages.
The secondary consideration is the placement of the drugs. Open void spaces are common on vessels and provide drug smugglers with an easy option. Simple duct tape or masking tape to reduce the size of the access will assist this ship’s staff completing stowaway searches and any sign of tampering with the tape will be readily apparent to any crewman conducting a security search.
Section 8 of the Club’s ISM & ISPS pocket checklist also deals with security checks.
For more information regarding stowaways see the LP Stowaways checklist.