How to cut the numbers of stowaways in African ports was the subject of a regional IMO seminar in Yaoundé, Cameroon this week (20-22 March). The event gathered representatives from nine ports* to share the actions they have taken since 2014 – when similar IMO events took place in Abidjan and Durban. 

Stowaway incidents continue to have a significant impact on safe ship operation and on the life and health of stowaways. Incidents cause considerable difficulties for shipmasters, shipping companies, shipowners and ship operators in disembarking stowaways from ships into the care of appropriate authorities. The estimated cost of stowaways to the shipping community is over US$15 million per year.

Proper application of security measures and access controls on board ships and within port facilities can reduce the number of stowaway incidents.

The Yaoundé seminar was organized with the National Port Authority of Cameroon and the Ministry of Transport of Cameroon, and attended by a variety of interested international organizations and IMO Member States. It was opened by Cameroon’s Minister of Transport, Hon. Jean Ernest N. Bibehe, and also attended by with the Secretary of State in charge of Defence and Director-General of the National Port Authority, Mr. Josué Youmba. The seminar was conducted by IMO’s Julian Abril, Gisela Vieira and Honorat Hoba.

* Abidjan, Cape Town, Dakar, Djibouti, Durban, Lagos, Mombasa, Tema, and Takoradi