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are an ever-present problem in certain areas of the world, most notably Africa, Central America, Colombia, Dominican Republic, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. Masters and crew should pay extra attention and focus on measures to prevent stowaways when a ship calls at ports in these areas.

There are a number of protective measures which can be taken by the Master and the crew even before a ship enters a port. The following list can serve as an aide-mémoire to the Master when trading to areas where stowaways are a common problem.
- Gather all possible information from all available sources - for example from the shipowner, the agent, maritime journals and newspapers - concerning the stowaway problem in the area.
- Try to find out about techniques used by stowaways to get on board in the past, e.g., bribery, in containers or by posing as stevedores. Discuss the procedures with other Masters to determine effective counter-measures.
- Ask the agent to ensure that the port is capable of providing adequate security. If it is not, the agent can be asked to arrange additional protection.
- If it is known that a large number of stowaways are boarding at a particular port, and there are doubts about the efficiency of guards supplied locally, short-term employment of a professional maritime security officer should be considered.
- Brief crew on the risk of stowaways and the need for their co-operation in reporting anything abnormal.
- Consider offering financial rewards for those who discover and prevent stowaway incidents and then make sure all crew members are aware of the advantages of preventing stowaways sailing with the ship.
- Consider rewarding the agent for stowaway-free sailings.
- Check security equipment, close-circuit television, alarms and locks.
- Check procedures to ensure that there is a reliable watchman on duty at any access which has to be open in port and that this watchman knows what to do if visitors, repairmen, stevedores, etc., wish to come on board. The simple rule is: "no unauthorised person gets on board, and all authorised people get off before sailing".
- Check to see that all locks are locked and that those places which can not be locked are sealed with tamper-proof seals or wire seals.

Some ports do have adequate security; in others, security is non-existent. Whatever the situation, total reliance upon port security is unwise. The stowaway business is now so financially attractive that total reliance upon local security staff merely offers an easy path for the potential stowaway. It is sensible, however, to ensure that the agent knows of your firm intention not to have stowaways, and that he is repeatedly asked to ensure that all those safety measures which are available in the port are made to work in the interest of the ship.

Normally the shipowner has little or no influence on port security and has to concentrate on preventing stowaways from gaining access to the ship.

typically come on board due to inadequate security and/or watch-keeping, or are hidden in containers which are subsequently loaded on board, while these are at the terminal.

As far as security and watch-keeping inadequacy are concerned, a number of measures can be taken depending on the potential risk of stowaways in the particular port. The essence of the strategy is to ensure that no unauthorised persons get on board the ship, and that all those who have been authorised to board get off before sailing. Given the pressure often put on watchmen, the best solution is to have two watch-keepers per entrance. However, with the small numbers of crew now serving on ships this is usually not a feasible alternative, the choice being either to recruit local guards, or to arrange for the temporary attachment to the ship of a professional maritime security officer.

Engaging guards and/or a maritime security officer may seem extravagant. However, if the threat is considerable the costs involved could well be justified. Repatriation of stowaways generally involves moving reluctant people across different continents and problems can easily arise. In 1996 and 1997 the average cost per stowaway case for Gard was USD 6,300. This figure does not take into account the applicable deductibles and actual costs are therefore significantly higher.

Given the myriad of people who often surge on board when a ship arrives in port, a pass system can be of valuable assistance. At its most simple this can involve the use of passes which are numbered, coloured or otherwise marked so to avoid repetition of use. Passes should be retrieved when visitors get off so that, provided control at the access points is firm, it will be known in case someone has not disembarked. If the Master feels he can expand on this simple system, then before the pass is issued, the name of the visitor can be noted against its number, proof of identity obtained and kept at the gangway.

There are a variety of psychological "ploys" which have been used by Masters in the past with varying degrees of success. Some examples of such measures are:
- False destination notices set outside the ship - virtually all stowaways aim to get to Western Europe/USA/Canada, so anywhere outside these areas will be less attractive.
- Announcement that there is a "fire" or "emergency" on the ship followed by the sound of alarm bells and shouts in the appropriate languages.
- Announcement that sniffer dogs are going to be released in the ship and/or a full security search carried out.
- Payment of a cash bonus to the agent if no stowaways come aboard at his port. A similar bonus to be paid to the crew if stowaways are found before sailing.

As mentioned above, stowaways also gain access to ships by hiding in containers, cars or other kinds of cargo units subsequently loaded on board. If the voyage is short enough the unit will probably be unloaded undisturbed, but more often the stowaways are discovered and ways have to be found of releasing them and providing them with food.

The chances of discovering stowaways secreting away in cargo at the terminal will depend on the time available and the amount of money the owner is prepared to spend. Obviously not every container or car can be checked. Whilst soft-top containers can be easily inspected, this is not the case with the standard steel-top containers. Some high-tech equipment is available to search for stowaways in containers; however, these gadgets are expensive and will normally be utilised by the port security authorities as opposed to being ship equipment. The following devices are available:

X-ray machines
At one time it was thought that testing with x-ray machines was an efficient method. However, it turned out that the ray intensity needed to penetrate the walls of a steel box would have been so great that it could prove lethal to anyone inside.

Stethoscopic microphones
Stethoscopic microphone testing seemed quite promising until it became apparent that the normal background noises of port operations were difficult to filter out.

Heat seeking cameras
The purpose of heat seeking cameras is to detect temperature variations of as little as two degrees inside a container. But, alas! It turns out that this tool too has its deficiencies, as many materials, including certain types of cargo, can generate heat. Moreover, stowaways learned to beat the system by putting up layers of cardboard along the inside walls of the container.

Carbon dioxide detectors
Carbon dioxide detectors are probably the best system available and are used in a number of ports. The detector is inserted into one of the container's air vents in order to detect breathing inside. Although these detectors are very useful, it is possible for stowaways to remain inside without being traced. In one case the container first passed the test, but when tested again later, it gave readings that were "sky-high". When inspectors opened the container, 14 people were found. They had rigged temporary pipes from one vent to the other so that only outside air was registered in the first reading.

In addition to preventing access to the ship, measures can be taken on board during cargo operations and prior to departure. These measures include the following:

Random Patrols
Random patrols, which are continually on the look out for people in unusual areas, should supplement the access watches. The value of random patrols can be significantly increased if all members of the crew are willing to report any abnormal activity.

A conscious approach to locking does restrict access of stowaways to potential hiding places, so it is prudent to lock all doors, rooms and holds without hampering cargo operations. Locking should be a matter of routine, backed by discipline. But life can be made very much easier for the crew if a system of locks is installed which creates a minimum of inconvenience to them. Where locks are not considered appropriate, tamper-proof seals and wire seals can be used, since these demonstrate that an entry has been made in case they are broken. This is an advantage when looking for stowaways.

continue to be a problem for shipowners.

In order to avoid detection, stowaways often hide away shortly before the vessel sails. For this reason an extensive search of the ship should be undertaken shortly before the vessel sails. Owing to the vast number of potential hiding places, a practical solution would be to divide the vessel into areas, e.g., accommodation, engine room, main deck, cargo compartments, and delegate responsibility for searching each area to especially assigned crew members.

have been known to hide in the most unusual places. Besides cargo holds and containers, they have been found inside funnel casings, chain lockers, storerooms, cabins, crane cabs, mast houses, engine room bilges and even in the rudder shaft space.

If stowaways are discovered during a search, the immigration authorities should be advised immediately in order that the stowaways can be removed from the ship.

Over the years attempts have been made by international organizations to try and agree on conventions or treaties regulating the stowaway problem. These attempts have basically concentrated on the issue of landing and repatriation rather than trying to prevent stowaways from getting on board. The Comité Maritime International's 1957 International Convention Relating to was one of the first moves in this direction. However, it has never come into force, as an insufficient number of States have ratified it. In recognition of this fact, on the initiative of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), in 1994 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) started the work to find a new and better regime. The result was the so-called "Guidelines on the Allocation of Responsibilities to Seek the Successful Resolution of Stowaway Cases". Whilst these guidelines represent an improvement, they are "guidelines" only and not binding on the participating States.

The fact that no binding convention or guidelines have been agreed would not matter if all countries complied with their moral responsibility to deal with stowaways arriving in their ports. Unfortunately, few do. Instead, they merely pass the stowaway along to the next country/port of call. This may be convenient for the country in question, but it does nothing to help either the crew or the stowaway. The main interest of such countries is often in punishing the shipowner - who is rarely to blame for the presence of the stowaway and is simply looking to disembark and repatriate him - by imposing a fine.

Perhaps the most promising attempt in the last few years is a recent ICS initiative, intended to persuade countries and individual ports to take measures to help reduce the number of stowaways boarding from each country or port. This initiative came in recognition of the fact that poor port security and/or a lenient attitude of the authorities facilitates the boarding of stowaways. In order to establish and substantiate the case that the potential risk of stowaways is significantly higher in certain countries, it became necessary to back the arguments with statistical data. In this respect it was thought that the P&I Clubs had the best available information, so all Clubs agreed to provide a database funded by the ICS with the necessary details of each stowaway case handled by them. Whilst the Clubs will have access to the statistics, they will not be able to identify which Club reported which case. This project is still in its early stages, but it is thought that this initiative will prove to be a very efficient tool in the efforts to enhance port security.

Frequently stowaways appear or are discovered by the crew two or three days after the ship has left port.

should be placed in secure quarters, guarded if possible and provided with adequate food and water to remain healthy. When more than one stowaway is found they should preferably be detained separately. The Master and crew should act firmly but humanely. Regardless of how inconvenient or irritating the stowaways may be to the Master, crew and shipowner, it is important that the stowaways are treated humanely.

In one sad case a few years ago criminal charges were brought against a Master who, on finding three stowaways on board his ship, threw them overboard. Two managed to swim ashore and one drowned.

In another case a Master and a Chief Officer have been given life sentences by a French court for murdering eight African stowaways. Other members of the crew have been jailed for up to 20 years. The stowaways had been discovered during a voyage from Africa to Europe and secured in a store room before being murdered by the crew. The incident came to light because one stowaway managed to escape and survived hiding on board until the ship arrived in port. The court carefully investigated the actions of the shipowner in order to consider whether he could be held vicariously liable for the behaviour of the Master and crew. Had there been any proof that the shipowner had encouraged or authorised such treatment then the court would probably have taken action against him.

should not be put to work. When working they will be at an increased risk of sustaining injuries which may entail significant medical expenses and even claims for compensation. Moreover, many stowaways are unpredictable and may represent a safety hazard if put to work. Some shipowners have also faced claims for wages, which have caused additional problems in connection with the repatriation process.

If a stowaway dies or commits suicide during the voyage, the authorities at the next port of call, in co-operation with the relevant embassy, will decide how to proceed, i.e., whether to arrange burial at the port in question or have the body repatriated. Normally an unidentified stowaway will not be repatriated. However, practice may vary from country to country and Members are advised to follow the instructions of the local authorities and the embassy in question.

Once stowaways have been found, one should focus on the possibilities of repatriation. A report should be sent as quickly as possible to the shipowner, the P&I Club and the agents at the last port of call. The report should preferably contain information regarding the following:
- Last port visited and likely port of embarkation.
- Date and time of sailing from last port.
- How many stowaways have been found.
- When and where the stowaways were found.
- Whether the stowaways have travel documents.
- Whether the stowaways have any other form of ID.
- Whether communication with the stowaways is possible.
- State of health of stowaways.
- Where stowaways have been placed.
- Whether the stowaways pose any particular threat to the safety of the crew or vessel.
- Whether the stowaways are co-operative.
- Whether the hiding place has been searched for possible documents.
- Full name of each stowaway.
- Sex.
- Date of birth.
- Place of birth.
- Name of both parents.
- Home address.
- Nationality.

Once this information is received, a strategy for repatriation should be considered.

Immigration authorities will only grant permission for a stowaway to be repatriated if he has the correct travel documents, or temporary travel documents have been issued by his country's embassy or consulate. Obtaining these documents can take some time and hence the need for the Master to notify the shipowner and the Club immediately so that arrangements can be made before the vessel's arrival in port.

Before the P&I correspondent can approach the embassy or consulate for travel documents, the identity of the stowaway must be positively established and documented. This is not always an easy matter and further interrogation, using an interpreter if necessary, may be required in order to establish the true identity of the stowaway. Many P&I correspondents have produced questionnaires to assist in this task. In addition to passport size photographs of the stowaway, a full set of fingerprints will also be required.

It frequently happens that repatriation of a stowaway can not take place from the first port because the necessary travel documents have not been arranged and the ship has to sail to her next scheduled port with the stowaway on board. Gard usually requests information from the Member regarding the vessel's itinerary so that the correspondents in the respective ports of call can be put on notice. The stowaway will then be repatriated at the first opportunity, normally accompanied by a guard.

Situations do arise when a ship is ready to sail but the stowaway can not be flown out until after the ship's scheduled departure. Immigration authorities are only likely to allow the repatriation to take place if the ship is still available for the stowaway to be put back on board should repatriation fail. In Hong Kong immigration authorities even require that the ship should remain in port until such time as confirmation has been received from the country of origin that the stowaway has landed and been accepted.

It is difficult to comment on the likelihood of succeeding with repatriation of stowaways in different parts of the world. without documents will not be allowed to land anywhere except perhaps in South Africa, unless they are asylum seekers or need medical attention. If, on the other hand, the stowaways have travel documents, repatriation will be possible from most countries. However, countries like Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Singapore will usually not allow disembarkation of stowaways even if they are holding passports.

Repatriation of a stowaway from a foreign port can be both time consuming and expensive. In the case of shipowners operating liner services there is an alternative way of getting stowaways returned to their country of origin. A liner ship will usually return to the port where the stowaway first boarded. A stowaway would thus be able to remain on board until the ship returns to that port but it would be necessary for the immigration authorities to be advised at all intermediate ports.

It may also be possible for a shipowner to transfer a stowaway to another ship in the same company if that ship happens to be going to the port where the stowaway boarded or a more convenient destination than the first ship.

In some cases the stowaways may ask for political asylum when the vessel arrives in port. This is most common in countries which have a sympathetic policy towards asylum seekers such as the USA and UK. The immigration authorities would take responsibility for the stowaways whilst giving consideration to their application for asylum. Some countries may request a guarantee or other security to cover the total or part of the cost of detention and repatriation. In the event a stowaway is not granted asylum the immigration authorities will make the necessary arrangements for the repatriation of the stowaway back to the country of origin. The shipowner may, however, be responsible for the repatriation expenses.

Whilst making a diversion to land a stowaway might seem attractive, particularly in cases where a stowaway has been discovered soon after leaving port, it is important to realise that there could be serious consequences. If the vessel has cargo on board, in some cases there could be prejudice to the Member's standard P&I cover for cargo liabilities, costs and expenses which arise out of a deviation or departure from the contractually agreed voyage which deprives the Member of the right to rely on defences or rights of limitation which would otherwise have been available to him.1 Although Gard has arranged an open deviation cover for the benefit of its Members, it is a condition for the insurance that the Member has given notice of the deviation at once and before any damage or loss to the cargo has occurred.2 Accordingly, Members should always contact Gard in advance to discuss any proposed diversion and what steps should be taken. In some cases special additional insurance may have to be arranged.

 1 Rule 34.1.x of Gard’s 2000 Statutes and Rules.
2 Notice is not a condition if the Member has bought Deviation Liability Insurance, Extended Cargo Cover or Comprehensive Carrier’s Cover from the Association.

Prevention is always better than cure, and this is especially true in cases involving stowaways. Any Master who has had to deal with a stowaway situation on board his ship will agree that time and money invested in preventing stowaways from boarding a vessel are time and money well spent. Therefore, it is hoped that the advice given in this article will help Members trading to risk areas to avoid the problem altogether, or to at least ensure a swift resolution to a situation which in many cases can be a challenge to the Member, the Club and its correspondents.

Gard News is published quarterly by Assuranceforeningen Gard, Arendal, Norway.