Stowaways – A Perennial Problem

Stowaways have always been a perennial problem to ship operators and other organisations operating within the maritime domain. They can cause delays to a ship’s timetable which can result in financial penalties and lengthy legal issues. The safety of a ship’s crew can also be put in danger; incidence of violence against crew members when stowaways are discovered, are now common. An incident in the English Channel in 2020 resulted in military intervention when seven stowaways attempted to take control of a ship while en route to Southampton. Stowaways routinely put their own lives at risk, which can quickly escalate into a Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) issue for the ship which can constitute a threat to maritime security. The ISPS Code which seeks to prevent unauthorized access to ships, port facilities and their restricted areas, can also be compromised incurring fines and possible reputational damage to a port facility operator or shipowner. The problem is of significant concern to ship owners as they are often heavily burdened with the humanitarian costs involved in the preservation of life and repatriation of those detained. The issue of stowaways is as old as shipping itself it is unlikely to go away. How it is best managed is the question that needs to be answered.  Read our latest Intelligence Report on Stowaways – A Perennial Problem and what can be done to reduce risk while in Port & what could be the possible consequences of Stowaway activities?

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