Stowaways by Sea

18 Июн

В статье поднимаются вопросы, связанные с чрезвычайно актуальной проблемой безбилетных пассажиров. О серьезности проблемы свидетельствует то, что за отчетный год Международная группа ассоциаций (клубов) взаимного страхования зафиксировала 774 случая с участием 1 640 безбилетных пассажиров. Автор дает свои рекомендации по отношению судового экипажа к безбилетным пассажирам. Кроме того автором рассматриваются усилия, которые предпринимает IMO по урегулированию упомянутой проблемы.

The latest Nautical Institute (NI) publication in the Maritime Security suite of books focuses on the complex and problematic issue of dealing with ‘Stowaways by Sea’.

Stowaways pose significant security, safety, commercial and liability issues for shipping. The problem is a serious one and shows no sign of abating. BIMCO states that the resolution of a stowaway case can include a considerable burden in terms of discomfort and sometimes even threat to the crew, administrative hassle, and the risk of fines or sanctions from port authorities.

It is now almost four years since The Nautical Institute first attempted to produce a practical guide to dealing with stowaways. While we were able to develop guidance on the practical measures to prevent stowaways boarding the vessel, it was almost impossible to deal with the legal and practical fallout if stowaways needed to be moved ashore and repatriated. While there was much theory, there was no real functioning mechanism in place to actually resolve these issues.

On the contrary, all too many States were playing fast and loose with the rules. In the post-911 era stowaways became the ultimate security bogeyman. Where a stowaway was found it was common for States to shirk their responsibilities, and to try and turn a blind eye to the responses which were required of them.

This had a terrible knock-on effect for shipping, and placed seafarers at risk of criminalisation. It also saw costs spiralling for owners who were seeking to get the stowaways off their ships, so they could trade freely once more.

Scale of the problem

Stowaways have become a Master s and shipowner s worst nightmare.

It is a sad fact that many people, more often than not young men, feel compelled to stow away on ships in search of a new life of perceived opportunity overseas. Unfortunately, the many changes and developments in maritime security have not led to a significant reduction in the number of stowaways or the number of incidents and it is seafarers who have to cope with the extra work, delay, uncertainty and possible violence.

The scale of the problem has been set out by the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG) and their analysis of claims data based on stowaway cases. During the past detailed 12 month policy year review, the IG states there were 774 incidents reported involving 1,640 stowaways.

The total cost to the members of the group for all stowaway eases during this period, net of deductible, was approximately $15.3 million, including fines imposed by states on shipowners.

Where the nationality’ of the stowaways was known, the majority were from African states, specifically Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania.

While it is useful to study statistics to gain some idea of the stowaway threat, it is important to remember that the port of embarkation of a high proportion of stowaways is unknow’n and there is a significant degree of under-reporting. Whatever the source of the information, Masters should ensure they are aware of the potential threat posed within the ports and waters to be visited.

When stowaways are found onboard, their initial status is usually unclear. They may be refugees attempting to escape war or religious persecution, migrants looking to raise their standard of living, political asylum seekers in search of relief from oppression, illegal immigrants hoping to enter a country undetected or criminals who may be involved with drug trafficking or other illegal activities.

Whatever their motivation, stowaways pose significant security, safety, commercial and liability issues for shipping. The stowaway problem is a serious one and shows no sign of abating.

Responsibilities and actions

The problems faced by a ship’s staff will vary according to the type of stowaway, and the action required may also vary. Considerable costs for investigation, identification and repatriation can be incurred, which are usually passed on to the shipowner.

The shipping industry cannot do anything about this wider picture, but we can understand how it affects us and look at how the risks can be mitigated or minimised.

While there is a tendency to vilify the individuals stowing away, it is too simplistic to paint stowaways as the enemy. In the past such attitudes have caused awful and catastrophic decisions by Masters and crews, and there have been cases of stow’aways thrown overboard — whether through panic, uncertainty, fear or malicious intent.

Stowaways by Sea provides information, guidance, best practice and encouragement, enabling crew’s and companies to develop their own w’ays of managing stowaways. It is also intended to help seafarers react to a difficult problem with understanding, compassion and authority’.

Knowing the risks, and having proper responses in place to deal with them will ensure that crews can react to this most difficult problem while protecting themselves and their vessel legally and physically. Stowaways need to be handled with care, and must be processed and documented swiftly and methodically, because they do pose a real security threat. This threat has to be managed properly and effectively, which calls for skill, knowledge and resources.

In doing the right thing with confidence and with the support of those ashore, shipboard personnel can keep themselves and the stowaways safe and free from harm. They can then take the necessary steps to get the stowaways off the ship as quickly as possible and into the care of third parties or the authorities.

The first aim is to keep stowaways from boarding the vessel; if that fails it is vital to know how to deal with this. If stowaways do get onboard, they need to be found, contained safely with due regard to their rights, and as much information as possible obtained from them to speed up the repatriation process.

IMO initiatives

Thankfully things have changed and improved in this regard, and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has undertaken to not only make the necessary rule changes to ensure that stowaways can be dealt with more effectively, but they are also focusing on ensuring the conventions are applied and adhered to universally.

A recent IMO initiative focusing on the top 12 embarkation ports for stowaw’ays in West and Central Africa has called for port facilities to strengthen their capacities for surveillance and access control.

While better port security is vital, it is also important to close immigration loopholes, removing the doubts and streamlining the process of repatriation to ensure that a stowaway incident does not spiral out of control.

«Knowing the risks, and having proper responses in place, will ensure that crew can protect themselves and their vessels, both physically and legally.»

Thanks to developments in the IMO’s Facilitation of Maritime Traffic (FAL) Convention, it is now’ possible to give guidance to seafarers, Masters and those ashore on what should happen if stowaways are found. While the process may not always follow the route it is supposed to, in theory at least there are massive improvements.

States can be difficult entities to deal with, and of course many are fearful about sensitive issues of immigration and asylum. But at least now shipping has a chance to do the right thing. There is also a push to ensure that ports, terminals and facilities are also not only aware of their responsibilities, but that they apply them too.

The aim in producing the Stowaways by Sea handbook was to deliver the practical guidance needed to keep a vessel secure, while also outlining the processes which need to be followed to bring as swift a possible resolution to a stowaway situation.

The book provides help for people who have to deal with stowaways by giving advice on the preparation and training that is needed both onboard and ashore. It contains practical guidance on making a vessel secure against stowaways, managing any that have succeeded in getting onboard, collecting the necessary evidence and organising the repatriation process. It includes an explanation of who stows away and why, how trading patterns affect risk, the responsibilities of all parties involved in a stowaway incident and the importance of reporting.

Автор: Steven Jones mni

Maritime Director, The Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI)

The new guide joins Maritime Security — a practical guide published in 2012 and Maritime Security handbook: Coping with Piracy published in 2013.

Each book plays an important and useful role in assisting seafarers and maritime professionals ashore to better appreciate and understand the threats facing them and their vessels, while also enabling them to react and respond effectively, keeping people, ships, cargoes and world trade safe and secure.

Available from The Nautical Institute at £20, or buy the whole suite for £65. 30% discount from these prices for Nautical Insitute members.

Источник: Seaways. — 2014. — May. — P. 22 — 23.