Gothenburg-based marine insurer The Swedish Club has issued an urgent stowaway advice for shipowners to prevent stowaways from boarding vessels in South African ports, following a rise in such incidents in the last two months.
Shipowners should be concerned about stowaway incidents as they are liable for the full costs of repatriating a stowaway.
The stowaway advice recommends measures such as those that ship owners should employ private security to patrol the quayside, with one security guard positioned on the forward mooring lines and one on the stern lines. Security on board is said to be ineffective as the guards tend to fall asleep on board.
In addition, crew members should not allow anyone on board the ship who does not have a port permit. Every visitor is obliged to have the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) clearance.
“All visitors should surrender their port permit to security and they should collect the same when they leave the ship. If anyone does not have a port permit, they must call the terminal/berth security in order to identify the individual and ascertain who is the individual and why does the individual not have a TNPA port permit,” the marine insurer said in the advisory.
Furthermore, visitors should be in possession of photographic identification and crew members must not allow any individuals to push past them on the gangway. Where possible, the gangway should be raised and lowered only after a crew member has got to the bottom of it, having verified who the visitor is, the marine insurer advised.
It is believed that the rise in stowaway cases will increase as individuals look for free passage home during the Christmas holidays.
“We understand that ship owners are battling in the current economic conditions and do not wish to use private security and rely on the crew to police the ship,” The Swedish Club said.
The Swedish Club said that the South African authorities stated they would not change their attitude towards these incidents and therefore ships must combat unlawful individuals boarding the ship.