714 - 08/10 - Stowaways - Nigeria

The Association has recently handled a case where a number of stowaways were detected onboard a vessel that had sailed from Nigeria.

In line with prudent practice, the vessel in question had installed a set of bars in the rudder trunk to prevent stowaways from accessing the vessel through this area. Following loading operations in Port Harcourt the vessel sailed for Brazil with a cargo of cement. Once the vessel was about 350 miles out, the crew discovered 5 stowaways hiding the rudder trunk.

This incident serves as a reminder of how determined some stowaways are to board a vessel. Prior to departure all areas should be searched, even those that appear fairly secure.

A summary of the steps to help prevent stowaways is as follows:

  • Ensure all relevant sections of the ISPS Code are implemented
  • Ensure there is always a member of the ship’s crew manning the gangway
  • On ro-ro vessels the ramp should be monitored at all times
  • Agents should obtain and provide the ship with a list from the stevedore company
  • All visitors that are expected on the ship should be known to the ship’s master
  • Be vigilant for any persons who may be trying to board the ship
  • It is essential that the ship is searched prior to departure

The Association has recently produced a checklist that can be found in the document below.

Source of information:

Ernest Foster



Staff Author