FAL 34 agrees to INTERTANKO/INTERCARGO proposal for a 'Stowaway Focal Point' to be set up

At the recent meeting of the IMO Facilitation Committee, FAL 34, a joint INTERCARGO-INTERTANKO paper was presented inviting consideration of a proposal to create an IMO "Stowaway Focal Point" (SFP). We are pleased to report that subject to certain provisos, FAL 34 agreed that in principle, an SFP should be put in place for a trial period to offer assistance in facilitating communications with Government Departments in circumstances where existing processes have been attempted but have not successfully resolved the problem.


In justifying this proposal, which had the primary intention of providing an additional resource for owners and Masters facing the difficult and trying circumstances of attempting a timely and humanitarian repatriation of stowaways, due credit was given to the existing processes. The role of P&I organisations, flag states, and of the IMO and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) were commended as being particularly successful in resolving most stowaway cases.


The IMO attempted to quantify the scale of the stowaway problem by recording that there were 244 incidents involving 657 individuals in 2006, although it was tacitly admitted that some incidents had not been reported in accordance with the IMO reporting process outlined in IMO Resolution A.871 (20) adopted on 27 November 1997 and that consequently, these statistics may under-represent the scale of the problem.


On an interim basis until due IMO processes have been completed allowing the formal creation of the SFP to assist in cases where existing processes have not been able to resolve stowaway problems, members are invited to review Resolution A.871 (20) and to continue reporting such incidents in accordance with existing procedures. Further advice and guidance on how the system will operate will be given in due course. 


Contact: Rob Lomas