P&I CLUB REPORTS $20-MILLION COST OF STOWAWAYS
The cost of dealing with stowaways illegally boarding commercial ships in many parts of the world probably exceeds $20 million a year, according to the U.K. Protection & Indemnity Club, the insurance mutual of shipowners.
In the five years ended 2000, the U.K. P&I Club saw reported cases reach 2,091, with a total cost for club members of $11.6 million in detention, repatriation, deportation and other expenses.
“Africa remains by far the most prominent source of stowaways,” the P&I club said, citing particular problems in Lagos, Abidjan and Douala. South America, China and the Balkans are the other main sources of stowaways. Problems were also reported in Kenya, Gabon and Italy.
U.K. Club correspondents reported an increase in incidents from the port of Mombasa, Kenya.
“With living standards deteriorating in Kenya as a whole, young men stow away in the hope that once at sea, the master will offer them employment and eventual disembarkation at a first world port where asylum claims can be made,” the club said. “Stowaway opportunities are increased by the very large pool of casual labor for stevedoring required by the Kenyan Port Authority.”
The P&I club said that a large proportion of Tanzanian would-be stowaways come to Mombasa, as ships tend to have more attractive destinations in Europe, India and North America than the port of Dar-es-Salaam.
The club has reminded its members of the difficulties of disembarking stowaways from ships at Italian ports.” An order served on the master might hold him personally liable for the safety of a particular stowaway and require him to appoint security guards to prevent escape, the club said.