August 7, 2007
IMO sets up Stowaway Focal Point
IMO has established a Stowaway Focal Point within its Maritime Safety Division.
It has been set up as a result of an INTERCARGO/INTERTANKO submission to the IMO Facilitation Committee.
The Stowaway Focal Point will operate for a one year trial period. It will offer help in facilitating diplomatic assistance to enable disembarkation of stowaways in circumstances where existing processes have been attempted but have not successfully resolved the problem.
The Stowaway Focal Point is intended as an additional resource for owners and masters facing the difficult and trying circumstances of attempting a timely and humanitarian repatriation of stowaways.
"We are delighted at this opportunity to have support from the IMO for a problem that shipowners and ship masters find difficult to solve in an efficient and law-abiding, yet humanitarian way", says Roger Holt, Secretary General of INTERCARGO. "We commend the IMO initiative and hope that ship owners will bring this valuable facility to the attention of their Flag States and Masters."
IMO has attempted to quantify the scale of the stowaway problem by recording that there were 244 incidents involving 657 individuals in 2006, although it was accepted that some incidents had not been reported in accordance with the IMO reporting process and that these statistics may under-represent the scale of the problem.
Encouraging masters and flag states to use the Stowaway Focal Point will also be an encouragement to provide more statistical information and therefore a more accurate indication of the scale of the problem.
To contact the Stowaway Focal Point and to send statistical reports on stowaways, vessels should use e-mail [email protected] or telephone +44 207 587 3110 during IMO Working Hours, remembering to seek the advice of their P&I Club/Flag State.