Stowaways: a perennial problem

The recent tragedy in the Red Sea where nearly 200 migrants from the Sudan drowned whilst sailing for Saudi Arabia is a reminder of the scale of international human migration.  Many such migrants attempt to smuggle themselves on board international merchant ships in search of a better and safer life abroad.

Stowaways on board ships have been a perennial problem for owners and crews and are a regular feature of the P&I claims handler’s experience.  A search of our Knowledge & Developments section will yield 22 separate items drawn from the Club’s extensive experience on both preventing stowaways, detecting their presence on board and dealing with them once found.

Our stowaways checklist is a good starting point as it gives a list of loss prevention tips on preventing illicit embarkation.  It also provides a list of steps to take in the event that a stowaway is detected on board.  A companion stowaway questionnaire guides crews and agents through the information that is needed to facilitate the repatriation process.

A number of articles can be found which give a more descriptive guide to dealing with stowaways.  The most recent are in the South African Review published last week.  Other publications give other national perspectives on the problem such as the May 2011 edition of Bodily Injury News.

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