Circular on Stowaways
Lodestar wish to draw Owners attention to the increasing number and severity of stowaway
incidents. Escalating political and financial instability naturally increases the number of
potential persons attempting to stowaway on vessels.
Lodestar’s assureds have recently experienced stowaway incidents where in excess of 10
people were discovered on board the vessels. In these cases it was established that one or
more of the vessel’s crew were complicit, for financial gain, in the embarkation and
concealment of the stowaways. Such incidents do not only result in costly removal and
repatriation costs, the necessity to deviate to land the stowaways may also expose Owners
to delay and loss of market claims from the charterers and cargo interests. The situation is
further complicated if any of the stowaways are minors. In such circumstances the majority
of European ports require the carrying vessel to remain in port until such time as the
stowaways are removed from the vessel, processed and confirmed as returned to their
country of origin. If the stowaways do not have identification documents or refuse to
cooperate, this may take many weeks or even months to resolve.
We would remind Owners that the ISPS Code (The International Ship and Port Facility
Security Code) enacted via SOLAS is a mandatory and not recommendatory requirement.
ISPS requires that all vessels be thoroughly searched prior to arriving and departing a port
and that access to the vessel be strictly controlled while the vessel remains in port. If all
Owners ensured that the ISPS code was correctly implemented the number of stowaway
incidents would be vastly reduced.
Lodestar strongly recommend that all Owners emphasise to their Masters and crew the
necessity of complying with the ISPS Code and conducting thorough stowaway searches
prior to departing port.
We thank you for your cooperation.
Lodestar Marine Limited
15th April 2013