South Africa – Stowaways

18 February 2015

The Club has been advised by P&I Associates, a correspondent in South Africa, of a change in the approach taken by the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town to foreign nationals who are found, before a vessel has departed, to have unlawfully boarded a vessel in Cape Town. Previously such persons were treated as “trespassers”, so that the costs of repatriation did not fall on the vessel. However, the new approach means that foreign nationals found on board a vessel without the requisite permits will be treated as stowaways so that the cost of repatriation will fall on the vessel. This change is effective immediately and is already being applied in Durban. 

The Correspondent advises that Members should be vigilant to ensure that any person boarding a vessel in Cape Town or Durban, including stevedores, agents, ship chandlers, cleaners, immigration, ship repairers, marine surveyors and contractors are in possession of a Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) permit. Absent a permit, the Correspondent further advises that a person should be asked to leave the vessel and, if need be, taken to the bottom of the gangway and port security notified. The port, as the landlord, will then have the person detained and charged as a trespasser on their property.

Members should be guided by the above advice from the Correspondent. This is, of course, in addition to Members’ obligations to ensure that access to the vessel is controlled in accordance with the ISPS Code.