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News: Increased stowaway activity in Northern Spanish Ports

13 November 2020

The risk of stowaways is constantly present in many ports, requiring consistent vigilance by ships’ crews. Recently, the club has seen a spike of stowaway cases, particularly from Northern Spanish ports, which members should be especially alert to.

By way of a reminder, we highlight below best practice for prevention of stowaways:

  • Prior to and during a ship’s call, it is necessary to ensure all relevant sections of the ISPS Code are implemented, particularly regarding the ship’s gangway and dock areas
  • Crew briefing session to be held to clarify specific tasks and the role each crew member has (both individually and as a team)
  • Don’t just rely​ on port security
  • Agents should obtain and provide the ship with a list of attending stevedores, if applicable
  • Ensure there is always a member of the ship’s crew manning the gangway who is closely monitoring all persons embarking and disembarking. Additional precautions such as CCTV should also be used where available
  • All access to the ship should be monitored at all times and any restricted areas on deck should be locked so that the vessel cannot be penetrated
  • Enhanced security patrols to be conducted on deck including continuous monitoring of all restricted areas
  • Stowaway search to be conducted at least once a day (prior to the final search) throughout the port stay, this is to reduce risk and allow early detection
  • A final thorough stowaway search to be done prior to the ship’s departure and again after clearing the port limits (prior to commencement of sea passage)

Stowaway checks must be exhaustive. The crew can use the following points to ensure a thorough check:

  • check all areas of the ship (including mooring ropes, low freeboard access and if applicable the rudder trunk)
  • the ship should be divided into sections and those sections searched systematically by teams of personnel to cover all areas
  • the crew should search the entire ship, targeting areas which they do not regularly access.

The club has also recently published guidance on stowaways, including cover issues, which can be found on the right.​