HANDHELD CO2 DEVICES HELP DETECT STOWAWAYS
Handheld equipment used to measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is being used at the Belgian seaport of Zeebrugge to find stowaways hidden in containers and trailers.
A recent five-week test of the technology involved the inspection of 400 trailers for roll-on/roll-off ocean transport. The equipment detected unusually high amounts of carbon dioxide in 27 containers, of which five trailers held about 50 stowaways.
The port authority at the French port of Calais acquired two of the devices, which are about the size of a mobile phone and cost about $1,000 each. Inspecting a trailer or container takes about three minutes. The port has ordered two more detectors.
The International Maritime Organization, the Baltic and International Maritime Council and the International Chamber of Shipping are receiving reports of record numbers of stowaways in European ports. The stowaway problem traditionally has been associated with ports in developing countries of Africa and South America.
“There is a wealth of information that has now been collected illustrating poor security at several northern European ports,” said Thomas Timlen of BIMCO.
The container involved in the death of 58 illegal immigrants last month originated at Zeebrugge.