P&I Club

Update Volume 2021/07 Update stowaways

Published on 19 april 2021

Over the past year, we have seen an increase in the number of attempts by stowaways to reach the United Kingdom on board members’ vessels. We have seen this trend continue in the first quarter of 2021 and we would therefore like to draw the attention of our members to the need for extra vigilance when trading between English ports and the European mainland and/or Africa, especially northern Spanish, French or North-African ports. We note that ships sailing on a fixed rotation to UK ports appear to be targeted in particular.

The presence of stowaways on board not only poses a potential danger to the safety of the ship and crew, but will in most cases lead to a disruption in the sailing schedule, with delays and costs as a result. In addition, we see a hardening in the post-Brexit position of the UK authorities. Where these previously where generally co-operative with regard to the admission of stowaways and asylum procedures, there is now a tendency towards requiring repatriation of the stowaways including the potential of fines for the owner (this is usually set at GBP 2,000 per stowaway by default). 

We advise our members and the crew their ships to pay extra attention to the risks of stowaways in particular when calling Northern Spanish, French and by extension North African ports. We specifically refer to the recommendations set out in our Loss Prevention guide Stowaways (downloadable from the NNPC website). It is also important to ensure that the measures taken by the ship are properly documented so that they can be used to defend the interests of the owner if and when a fine is imposed by the English authorities.

In case our assistance is required, or in case of specific questions or concerns regarding this matter, members should contact us at

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