Some maritime international experts and port managers are analyzing various ways to fight against stowaways in Africa. Stowaways are people who hide in ships to illicitly move from one country to the other.
The experts met in Yaounde recently in the presence of top government officials, o examine the impact of the previous seminars, strengthen technical cooperation between ports and define more effective mechanisms to reinforce security and safety on ports and ships.
Speaking at the occasion, Cameroon’s Minister of Transport, Ngale Bebehe said, Cameroon has taken several measures to prevent such unwanted activity, noting that 19 of Cameroon’s 24 port installations are certified according to the international convention for safety of life at sea. According to the General Manager of Cameroon’s National Ports Authority, Josue Youmba, stowaways, some of whom carry firearms into ships with the intent to rob, threaten the security of crews and vessels. They also prompt extensions of waiting time for certain ships that are obliged to subscribe to declaration procedures.
Josue Youmba noted at the opening of the on-going seminar the IMO is leaving no stone unturned to reduce illegal migration through ships; a phenomenon which has cost African ports an estimated loss of 15 million US dollars (circa eight billion FCFA) in recent years. The seminar, he said, is a follow up to two others organised in 2014 to fight against stowaways.