Although hearing about stowaways might bring a smile to some faces and romantic dreams to others, the problem of stowaways is far more serious and tragic.
In Stowaways

The current world situation with religious and economic oppression, draughts, famines and general political unhappiness amongst developing nations, leads many unfortunate souls to try to abandon their home countries with the hope of finding greener pastures elsewhere.
This has become evident with the current situation in Syria and Lebanon and – to a smaller , but no less serious situation with stowaways. Although this may bring an indulgent smile to some people , it is a serious problem for ship owners , who because many of these people sneak aboard without documentation or , in fact destroy their documentation, are faced with being responsible for effective “stateless” people who now have no home country and are rejected by nearly every other country they may arrive at.Image result for pictures of stowaways
In days gone by , a number of stowaways were placed on makeshift rafts made of old oil drums or other flotsam and set adrift close to shore of countries the ship was passing but not calling at – sometimes with disaterous results. On other occasions , they were put to work on the ship and given the most onerous tasks in order to “make them pay their way”- in some worse cases, they were thrown overboard in the dead of night by unscrupulous crews.
A more “humane but totally illegal way of getting rid of them was for them to be allowed to “esape” with either the doors or windows somehow being “forgotten “ to be locked and the stowaways somehow disappearing while the ship was tied up alongside in port.
These days , there is a strict code of conduct regarding the handling and treatment of these people.Image result for pictures of stowaways
The UK P&I Club as well as North Of England P&I club have issued stowaways checklist to provide guidance and steps for preventing and dealing with stowaways.
According to the UK P&I club checklist, the following steps are recommended:
• Prior to and during a ship’s call at any port, it will be necessary to ensure all relevant sections of the ISPS Code are implemented particularly regarding the ship’s gangway and dock areas. All access points should be secured.
• Ensure there is always a member of the ship’s crew manning the gangway who is closely monitoring all persons embarking and disembarking. Additional precautions such as CCTV should also be used where available.
• On ro-ro vessels the ramp should be monitored at all times and any access points on deck should be locked so that the vessel cannot be penetrated.
• Agents should obtain and provide the ship with a list from the stevedore company that clearly identifies the number of stevedores working on the ship. It is essential that stevedores only embark and disembark by the ship’s gangway and their movements are constantly monitored whilst onboard.
• All visitors that are expected on the ship should be known to the ship’s master, the crew member assigned to gangway watch duty and the agents, with their expected time of arrival and clear details of their intended business onboard. All visitors should be instructed to report to the crew member assigned to gangway watch duties in the first instance.
• Be vigilant for any persons who may be trying to board the ship by mooring ropes or small boats at the waters edge. This is particularly important when the ship is berthed at night.
• It is essential that the ship is searched prior to departure, including all dark and difficult to access areas. This should include areas that are thought to be locked/secured. Empty bays on container vessels and empty holds on bulk/general cargo vessels should be searched. In some circumstances it may be prudent to engage an external search company to assist with a search prior to the ship’s departure.
In case a stowaway is found onboard, The Club recommends briefly to take the following measures:
• Once the presence of a stowaway has been detected it is important to inform the owners and the port agents.
• It is the responsibility of the agent to advise the local authorities of the stowaway’s presence
• It can be very useful to search the area where the stowaway was found
• Ensure that the stowaway’s clothing has been searched
• The stowaway must be photographed and interviewed
• Once the above information has been obtained, it should be reported to the Club and/or the local correspondent
• While the stowaway remains onboard, he should be fed and allowed access to basic items such as bed and toilet
• It will be necessary for the stowaway to be kept secure at all times
Please click images below to download the Stowaway Checklist issued by the UK P&I Club and the Stowaway Guidance issued by North Of England P&I club containing checklist and questionnaire.

Click on the following link to read more


Download Circular_on_Stowaways_11-04-13.pdf (PDF) – See more at:

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