646 - 7/09 - Illegal Disembarkation of Stowaways - Cameroon
Douala's Harbour Master in charge of maritime immigration has just informed the Club's correspondent in Douala that in an ever-increasing number of cases, ship's agents are taking it upon themselves to organise the disembarkation at sea of Cameroonian stowaways (or stowaways who embarked in the Cameroon) without following the official procedures.
They either fail to inform the appropriate authorities or persuade police officers who are not from the immigration department to assist them.
In order to make money from shipowners on the pretext of speeding up the disembarkation process and reducing the costs, they do not inform vessels of the official stowaway disembarkation procedures and intentionally break the rules.
In the Cameroon, the disembarkation and handling of stowaways must be officially approved and carried out with the assistance of the Immigration Services even if the stowaways claim to be of Cameroon nationality or embarked in the Cameroon. The Authorities have told the Club’s correspondent that they will introduce restrictions if this illegal business continues.
We would therefore recommend that Members be on their guard and exercise due caution in dealing with stowaway cases in this area and immediately inform correspondents when stowaways are discovered or when steps need to be taken to disembark them.