South Africa and United States: Stowaways and Ebola virus


Published: 11 August 2014

The development

Members will be very much aware of the long standing issue of stowaways seeking to gain access in West African countries.

Given that some of these incidents may occur in countries presently affected by the Ebola outbreak, this may lead to a very difficult combination of events.

Our correspondents in South Africa have advised that recently a vessel called in South Africa with stowaways from West Africa which lead to the vessel not being allowed to berth due to uncertainties over the identity, nationality and health of the stowaways.

Further details can be found in our correspondent's note, republished here.

Measures from South Africa

The authorities are developing a response to the situation and ships calling in the ports of South Africa may need to expect delays on berthing and on obtaining health clearance if they come from a country which is experiencing an Ebola outbreak.

This would be particularly the case if a stowaway is found on board.

Disembarking stowaways in South Africa, especially if they are undocumented, may also become more difficult and time consuming.

For latest information on South African procedure and approach to this issue, contact should be had with local shipping agents.

In case of difficulty or concern, masters should contact Association correspondents immediately.

Measures from the United States

Members are referred to US Coast Guard Bulletin No. 12-14 of 7 August 2014.

Members are asked to note that the Coast Guard / Centre for Disease Control require notification of any sick or deceased crew or passengers on the vessel.

The USCG is also likely to wish to consider a closer inspection of any vessel that may have had a port in an Ebola affected country in its last five ports of call. Advance notice must be given to the USCG that there is a sick crewman on board prior to a USCG inspection team arriving.

Should members have experienced any stowaway situation or other ISPS incident while in a country affected by Ebola, then again this should to be advised to the USCG.

Members are reminded that if they have any questions or issues with a port call to the United States that Skuld's New York office can be contacted 24 hours a day for assistance.

The Association is grateful to correspondents P&I Associates in South Africa for contributing to this update.