News 21 Aug, 2017

Stowaways - Problematic Ports

The issue of stowaways onboard entered vessels is a perennial problem for the Club, with 60 cases involving 220 stowaways in the past 12 months, costing over USD 1.6 million to rectify and occupying a considerable amount of time to bring to satisfactory conclusions.

An analysis of the Club’s stowaway claims experience for the past 12 months has been carried out to identify those ports that are, in the experience of our Membership, stowaway hot spots. A similar exercise was undertaken a few years ago with the results contained in the Club’s Loss Prevention Bulletin on Stowaways.

The following two pie charts detail, firstly, the number of stowaways our membership has encountered by port and country of boarding, and, secondly, the number of stowaway cases encountered by port and country of boarding.

When comparing the charts in our Loss Prevention Bulletin on Stowaways and the above data, It will be seen that stowaways from European ports have increased noticeably in recent years. It should, however, be noted that the high number of stowaways / stowaway cases from European ports involving our entered vessels have exclusively involved stowaways boarding RORO ferries (usually hiding in trailers) and where Northern European ports are concerned, these vessels have all been trading from the listed boarding ports to the United Kingdom.

Otherwise it will be noted that African ports still predominate, with Lagos, Nigeria being the most prolific African port for stowaways by number of stowaways and number of cases. In recent years the Club has experienced several incidents whereby large numbers of stowaways (10+) have boarded a vessel in Lagos in a single incident. Durban in South Africa and Douala in Cameroon have also been problematic.

The Managers therefore strongly recommend that vessels visiting, in particular, African ports and Northern European Ports when destined for the United Kingdom, ensure robust anti-stowaway measures are in place at all times, in accordance with the guidance contained in our Loss Prevention Bulletin on Stowaways.

As regards the typical stowaway hiding places on board, the void space surrounding the rudder trunk continues to be popular. It is therefore recommended that a substantial metal grating be welded in position, clear of the full movement of the rudder stock, to discourage stowaways from attempting to hide in this location.

Members requiring any further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.