P&I club warns of rise in stowaways

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 July, 1997, 12:00am

Shipowners are being warned to take special precautions to prevent an increasing number of stowaways from getting aboard vessels.

The London P&I Club said 86 stowaways had been reported in the first five months of this year. They were expected to cost shipowners more than HK$2.3 million in fines and other penalties.

This compared to 174 incidents, which cost owners almost $4 million, reported last year.

'The problem of stowaways is serious and is getting worse,' the London club said.

'Most countries are closing their doors to stowaways seeking repatriation and are bringing in legislation to fine those vessels which, however unwittingly, are involved.' The club recommended a series of measures operators should take to prevent stowaways boarding vessels.

These include: Locking and guarding accommodation doors while in port; Maintaining a gangway watch throughout loading and disembarkation; Keeping proper records of stevedore gangs; Searching the vessel before departure; and Inspecting containers wherever possible prior to sealing.

The club acknowledged that really determined stowaways would always find somewhere to hide on board.

When these people were found they should be questioned to find out their nationality, address and date of birth, and the details should be radioed ahead. Stowaways should be properly secured until they could be handed to authorities at the next port.