A stowaway is a person who sneakily boards a vehicle, such as a ship, an aircraft, a train, cargo truck or bus. Sometimes, the purpose is to get from one place to another without paying for transportation.
Stowaways can be classified under the following categories:
Refugees are people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country. They often have had to flee with little more than the clothes on their back, leaving behind homes, possessions, jobs and loved ones.
Economic Migrants seeking an improved standard of living, because the conditions or job opportunities in the migrant's own region are insufficient. The United Nations uses the term migrant worker.
When an individual has left their home country as a political refugee, and wishes to seek a shelter in another country due to political unrest such as an unwanted uprising against the Government or something along those lines.
Insurance cover for ship operators is provided by Protection & Indemnity Clubs (Maritime insurance) for any loss and/or liabilities pertaining to stowaways. There is also a clause stating that the insurance claim may be reduced or nullified if it has been deemed by the Club that adequate steps were not taken to protect the ship against stowaways. The shipowners as well as other staff on the ship will be aware, the costs of disembarkation and repatriation of stowaways onboard their vessels have to be incurred by the shipowner/operator. The following are the costs incurred :-
- Fines relating to stowaways onboard
- Victualling expenses (Cost of food and other stores for the stowaway)
- Cost of guards employed to prevent stowaway from escaping
- Clothing, linen and beddings for the stowaway
- Embassy fees
- Detention expenses
- Flights, accommodation and other repatriation costs for stowaway
- Expenses incurred by agents associated with stowaways
These costs may substantially be covered by the Club or the insurance claim may be reduced or nullified if it has been deemed by the Club that adequate steps were not taken to protect the ship against stowaways. The above points are also known to stowaways and hence they try to board vessels for obvious reasons of comfort. Even if they don’t make it to the country they are trying to go to, evidently they are well taken care of! For stowaway search with dogs in douala , Cameroon