CEM REPORT, MARITIME | Lagos and other ports in the African continent have been named beachheads for stowaway embarkations,
A report by Norway-based marine insurer and International Group Club, Gard placed Nigeria ahead of other African countries in stowaway embarkation from 2018 to 2022.
The report, which also reviewed the International Group of P&I Clubs (IGP&I) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Global Integrated Shipping System (GISIS) data for the period 2013 to 2022, stated that many North African countries have become major transit points for African and Arab migrants trying to reach Europe to escape war and poverty.
The IMO GISIS data also revealed the top five countries of stowaway embarkation from 2018 to 2022 to include, Nigeria at 14 per cent, Morocco at 13 per cent, Guinea at 12 per cent, Tunisia eight per cent, Senegal seven per cent and the rest of Africa 46 per cent.
Although the total number of stowaways involved has also decreased, not at the same rate as the incident figures.
“Whilst the total cost net of deductible including fines imposed by states on shipowners, has dropped, the cost per stowaway incident, as well as per stowaway, has risen. It is also important to note that the cost to shipowners is higher than that incurred by the Clubs as, in addition to their deductible, shipowners are likely to incur other costs, which are not insured.”
The report advised that to drop the figures of stowaways, unauthorised persons who gained access to the ship should disembark before sailing adding that stowaways have an adverse effect on the crew.
“Proper access control relies on crew members who are adequately briefed about how the ship’s trading patterns affect the stowaway risk and the relevant security measures to be implemented. Once aboard, stowaways adversely affect crew wellbeing.
“Crew may have to work longer hours because they also must take care of the stowaways, the Master will have to spend more time on communicating and planning for disembarkation, possible deviations and in port arrangements – and certainly, there is a significant safety element.”
The group also advised that in handling stowaways found onboard, with security in mind, they should be treated humanely including adequate food, water and medical treatment if required.