IMO establishes Stowaway Focal Point after INTERTANKO/INTERCARGO submission

As reported in Weekly NEWS No. 22 dated 1 June 2007, the IMO's Secretary-General has established a Stowaway Focal Point within the IMO's Maritime Safety Division as a result of the INTERCARGO/INTERTANKO submission earlier this year to the IMO Facilitation Committee. The contact point for such matters is Graham Mapplebeck, Head of the Facilitation Section in the new IMO Sub-division for Maritime Security and Facilitation.


At the mid-April meeting of the IMO Facilitation Committee, FAL 34, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO presented a joint paper inviting consideration of a proposal to create an IMO "Stowaway Focal Point" (SFP). Subject to certain provisos, FAL 34 agreed in principle that 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 clubs, 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.

To contact the Stowaway Focal Point please use e-mail


Click here for the text of a letter from the Director of the IMO's Maritime Safety Division, and the IMO Stowaway Focal Point terms of reference for the conduct of trials.


Contact: Rob Lomas and Peter Swift