Piracy and Sea Robbery Situation in Asia in July 2018

OVERVIEW

A total of seven incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in July 2018. No piracy incident was reported. There was also no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo.

JULY 2018

NUMBER OF INCIDENTS

In July 2018, a total of seven incidents (all actual incidents) of armed robbery against ships were reported. All incidents have been verified and reported to the ReCAAP ISC by ReCAAP Focal Points and Contact Point. Refer to the Appendix on pages 16-18 for the description of these incidents. Compared to the preceding month of Jun 2018, there has been an increase in the number of incidents in July 2018. Only one incident was reported in Jun 2018. Graph 1 shows the number of incidents reported each month from July 2017 to July 2018.

STATUS OF SHIPS

Of the seven incidents reported in July 2018, two incidents occurred on board ships while underway and five incidents on board ships at anchor/berth.

SIGNIFICANCE LEVEL OF INCIDENTS

Of the seven incidents reported in July 2018, one was a CAT 2 incident and six were CAT 4 incidents. There were no CAT 1 and CAT 3 incidents. Majority of the incidents were CAT 4 (petty theft cases). Chart 1 shows the significance level of incidents reported in July of 2009-2018.

JANUARY-JULY 2018

NUMBER OF INCIDENTS

A total of 47 incidents comprising 36 actual incidents and 11 attempted incidents, had been verified and reported to the ReCAAP ISC during January-July 2018. Graph 2 shows the number of incidents reported during the 10-year reporting period.

Compared to January-July 2017, there was a 4% decrease in the total number of incidents reported during January-July 2018. A total of 49 incidents comprising 42 actual and seven attempted incidents were reported during January-July 2017.

SIGNIFICANCE LEVEL OF INCIDENTS

Of the 36 actual incidents reported during January-July 2018, three were CAT 2 incidents, eight were CAT 3 incidents and 25 were CAT 4 incidents. Chart 2 shows the significance level of incidents reported during January-July of 2009-2018.

In comparison, the overall severity level of incidents reported during January-July 2018 was the lowest among the 10-year period of January-July. There was no CAT 1 incident reported during January-July 2018, and the number of CAT 2 incidents was among the lowest during the 10-year period. Majority of the incidents reported during January-July 2018 were CAT 4 (petty theft incidents), and this accounts for more than two-thirds of the total number of actual incidents.

SITUATION IN THE STRAITS OF MALACCA AND SINGAPORE (SOMS)

There has been an increase in the number of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) during January-July 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. A total of seven incidents (comprising five actual incidents and two attempted incidents) were reported compared to two incidents (comprising one actual incident and one attempted incident) reported during the same period in 2017.

Of the seven incidents reported during January-July 2018, two occurred in July, two in May, one in April and two in January. The latest two incidents in July 2018 involved tug boat, Sung Fatt 31 towing barge, Sung Fatt 38 loaded with scrap metal while underway in the westbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the western sector of the Singapore Strait on 3 Jul 18; and the other incident involving tug boat, Bintang Ocean 3 towing barge, Winbuild 2313 while underway in the eastbound lane of the TSS in the eastern sector of the Singapore Strait on 7 Jul 18. In both incidents, the masters and crew did not notice the sampans alongside the barges. The perpetrators boarded the barges from the sampans and escaped with scrap metal from Sung Fatt 38 and coils of tow line from Winbuild 2313.

The ReCAAP ISC advises all ships to exercise enhanced vigilance and report all incidents to the nearest coastal State. Tug boats towing barges loaded with cargo are relatively more vulnerable as they are slower in speed, with lower freeboard and unmanned barges. On the part of the authorities, the relevant enforcement agencies are encouraged to beef up their surveillance, increase patrols and render assistance promptly to reports made by victim ships. Tug boats are advised to enhance vigilance with their towed barges.

SITUATION ON ABDUCTION OF CREW FROM SHIPS IN THE SULU-CELEBES SEAS AND WATERS OFF EASTERN SABAH

There was no report of actual or attempted incident involving the abduction of crew from ships while underway in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off eastern Sabah in July 2018. The last actual incident reported to the ReCAAP ISC occurred on board Super Shuttle Tug 1 on 23 Mar 17; and the last attempted incident occurred on board Kudos 1 on 16 Feb 18. As of 31 July 18, nine crew is still held in captivity. The Philippine authorities continue to conduct pursuit operations and intensify its military operations to rescue the abducted crew and neutralise the militant groups.

Inputs from the Philippine Coast Guard who is ReCAAP Focal Point revealed that the threat is not eradicated and there were reports that the militant groups had been able to recruit and replenish its ranks, and continue to attempt to stage abductions. The possibility of resurrecting maritime piracy and kidnappings is plausible when the opportunity arises given the complex maritime environment of the Sulu-Celebes Seas.

As the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Sea is not eliminated, ReCAAP ISC maintains its advisory issued via the ReCAAP ISC Incident Alert dated 21 November 2016 to all ships to re-route from the area, where possible.

CONCLUSION

The situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia during January-July 2018 has improved compared to the same period in 2017. There was a decrease of 4% in the total number of incidents during January-July 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. A total of 47 incidents (comprising 36 actual and 11 attempted incidents) were reported during January-July 2018 compared to 49 incidents (comprising 42 actual and seven attempted incidents) reported during January-July 2017.

The severity level of incidents has also decreased during January-July 2018 with no CAT 1 incident and the lowest number of CAT 2 incidents compared to the same period of 2009-2018. There was no actual incident of abduction of crew for ransom and no hijacking of ships for oil cargo theft during January-July 2018.

However, of concern was the continued occurrence of incidents in the Singapore Strait. Two incidents of theft of cargo from barges towed by tug boats while underway in the Singapore Strait were reported in July 2018, bringing the total number of incidents in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore to seven during January-July 2018 compared to two incidents reported during the same period in 2017.

Although there was no actual incident of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and no theft of oil cargo during January-July 2018, the threat of these incidents still remains.

The ReCAAP ISC reiterates the need for law enforcement agencies to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to reports of incident. Ships transiting areas of concern are to exercise enhanced vigilance, maintain look-out for suspicious boats, report all incidents to the nearest coastal State and flag State immediately, and implement preventive measures recommended in the Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia.

 

Source: ReCAAP ISC

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MALAYSIA, TUG BOARDED WHILE UNDERWAY OFF SABAH

10.08.2018: 1000 UTC
Posn: Off Tambisan Island, NE of Sabah, Malaysia.
Several persons in speed boats boarded a tug towing a barge underway.
The Crew locked all access into the tug and contacted the local authorities who dispatched a security boat.
Due to the hardening of the tug the persons were unable to enter the accommodation and escaped when they noticed the security boat approaching.
The tug continued her voyage to the next port. Crew reported safe.
Source: ICC
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S. African navy completes anti-piracy mission in Mazambique

Two South African navy vessels have completed patrol of the Northern Mozambican Channel as part of the anti-piracy Operation Copper, South African authorities said.

The two vessels, SAS Protea and SAS Galeshewe, will return to their naval base in Durban on Friday, the South African Navy said.

“Despite the fact that no arrests were made, this operation does send a warning to any criminal element that the SA Navy is ready to protect its territorial waters, as well as those of its neighbors,” said the navy.

During the mission, the two vessels sailed more than 3,000 km to Pemba in Northern Mozambique, according to the navy.

This was the first time in many years that the South African Navy deployed two ships to the Operation Copper.

Deploying the vessels was in fulfillment of South Africa’s international obligations towards the Southern African Development Community (SADC) maritime security.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has provided a permanent presence in the Mozambique Channel since January 2011 on Operation Copper, which is primarily an anti-piracy operation.

The mandate of the South African Navy during Operation Copper was to combat drug, arms and human trafficking, as well as illegal fishing.

Both ships had members of the Mozambican Defence Force onboard during the patrols in order to conduct these measures, said the navy.

A unique feature of the deployment was that the two ships operated completely independent from foreign support and did not enter any harbor during the three-week deployment. The ships used Pemba bay as a base from which to conduct their patrols, according to the navy.

The likelihood of a piracy incident taking place in the Mozambique Channel is probably at its highest level since 2010, the SANDF said earlier.

South Africa got involved in anti-piracy operations following a call for assistance from Mozambique.

 

Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS

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PIRACY: Nigeria water’s now worse than Somalia

For the second consecutive quarter in 2018, the global maritime report on piracy has put Nigeria on the spot, occupying number one position in the number of recorded attacks against vessels in the second quarter 2018, Q2’18.

The first six months of 2018 saw a significant rise in the number of recorded piracy and armed robbery incidents in the Gulf of Guinea region compared to the same period in 2017. The Q1’18 report from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) shows an increase in global piracy, with 107 incidents recorded in the first six months of 2018 compared to 87 in the same period in 2017. Most alarming is the increase in the number of incidents recorded in the Gulf of Guinea region, which has gone from 16 in the first half of 2017 to 46 in 2018, with 31 incidents recorded in Nigeria’s territorial waters alone.

The report also says Nigeria, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Venezuela and Benin Republic led the table in the number of attempted attacks, number of vessels boarded by pirates, number of vessels fired upon, number of hijacked vessels and number of suspicious boats operated by pirates. A breakdown of the report further revealed that Nigeria recorded 31 attacks, closely followed by Indonesia with 25, while Bangladesh and Venezuela recorded 7 attacks each. Others are Republic of Benin and Ghana with 5 attacks each. According to the report, Bulk carriers suffered the most in the attacks against vessels as 39 of such vessels were attacked since the beginning of the year.

Tanker vessels also recorded 30 attacks in the first six months of the year while passenger vessels recorded only one attack so far this year. On the number of attacks on vessels on anchorage, Nigeria led other countries with 14 of such attacks, followed by Indonesia with 11 and Bangladesh with 7 recorded attacks. Speaking on the development, Captain Jacob, Ovweghre, self acclaimed Director General of the proposed Maritime Security Agency, MASECA, said that the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA are already over burdened with the problem of checkmating armed robbery at sea.

Ovweghre disclosed that some of the pirates are not Nigerians adding that sometimes they are nationals of Cameroon, Ghana and criminals from other neighbouring countries. But in defence of the figure, Chairman of the Port Facility Security Officers, PFSO, Forum, Dr. Ignatius Uche, said that the measures put in place by the relevant authorities to checkmate the spate of attacks are yielding positive results as, according to him, ‘‘there has been a downward trend in attacks on vessels’’. He said despite the fact that Nigeria still leads the chart on piracy, the figure over the last three months has gone down.

Former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Leke Oyewole, commended the maritime authorities for the measures put in place to reduce the activities of the marine criminals. Oyewole stated: ‘‘Whatever they are doing to reduce pirates attacks in Nigeria means that the measures are good and they must improve on them to further reduce the figure being quoted by the International Maritime Bureau, IMB.” Pirates and robbers were armed with guns in almost half of the Nigerian incidents and vessels were fired upon in eight of them.

This current report is a confirmation of Vanguard Maritime Report recently on the trend in incidence of piracy in Nigerian maritime space. Worldwide, in the first three months of 2018, 100 crew were taken hostage and 14 kidnapped from their vessels. A total of 39 vessels were boarded, 11 fired upon and four vessels hijacked. IMB received a further 12 reports of attempted attacks.

On the positive side, the IMB reports that the number of crew kidnappings has decreased globally from 41 in Q2’17 to 25 in Q2’18. However, all 25 crew kidnappings reported this year are from six incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Nigeria, emphasizing even further the higher maritime risks in this region. Another positive development, however, is the IMB reports of fewer piracy and armed robbery incidents in piracy hotspots other than the Gulf of Guinea. For instance, no incident was recorded off the coast of Somalia in Q2’18 and while the number of incidents reported by vessels at berth/anchorage in Indonesia and Bangladesh remains high, the situation in the Philippines has improved.

According to the report, abductions of crew from vessels in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah have also improved, with no such successful incidents recorded in the first half of 2018. According to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), the first six months of 2018 saw the lowest number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in Asia at that time of the year for the past ten years.

 

Source: HELLENIC SHIPPING NEWS

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Armed Robbery in Asian Waters Increased in July

ReCAAP ISC reports seven incidents of armed robbery against ships in July, an increase from June when only one incident was reported.

Of the seven incidents reported in July 2018, two incidents occurred on board ships while underway and five were on board ships at anchor or berth. Most involved petty theft.

During January to July this year, 47 incidents, 36 actual incidents and 11 attempted incidents, have been verified and reported to the ReCAAP ISC. Compared to January-July 2017, this is a four percent decrease in the total number of incidents. The overall severity of incidents this year has been the lowest in 10 years, with over two thirds involving petty theft.

However, there has been an increase in the number of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore during January-July 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Seven incidents, five actual incidents and two attempted incidents, were reported compared to two incidents reported during the same period in 2017.

The latest two incidents, in July 2018, involved tug boat, Sung Fatt 31 towing barge, Sung Fatt 38 loaded with scrap metal while underway in the westbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the western sector of the Singapore Strait and the tug boat, Bintang Ocean 3 towing barge, Winbuild 2313while underway in the eastbound lane of the TSS in the eastern sector of the Singapore Strait. In both incidents, the masters and crew did not notice the sampans alongside the barges. The perpetrators boarded the barges and escaped with scrap metal from Sung Fatt 38 and coils of tow line from Winbuild 2313.

Although there was no actual incident of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and no theft of oil cargo during January-July 2018, the threat of these incidents still remains, says ReCAAP ISC.

 

Source: The Maritime Executive

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Robberies against ships see an alarming increase in Singapore Strait

A total of seven incidents of armed robbery against ships in Asia were reported in July 2018, according to ReCAAP ISC’s monthly piracy report. The report reveals a 4% decrease in the total number of incidents during January-July 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, but unveils an increased activity in the Singapore Strait.

Highlights

  • A total of 47 incidents (comprising 36 actual and 11 attempted incidents) were reported during January-July 2018 compared to 49 incidents (comprising 42 actual and seven attempted incidents) reported during January-July 2017.
  • The severity level of incidents has also decreased during January-July 2018 with no CAT 1 incident and the lowest number of CAT 2 incidents compared to the same period of 2009-2018.
  • There was no actual incident of abduction of crew for ransom and no hijacking of ships for oil cargo theft during January-July 2018.
  • Of concern was the continued occurrence of incidents in the Singapore Strait. Two incidents of theft of cargo from barges towed by tug boats while underway in the Singapore Strait were reported in July 2018, bringing the total number of incidents in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore to seven during January-July 2018 compared to two incidents reported during the same period in 2017.
  • Although there was no actual incident of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and no theft of oil cargo during January-July 2018, the threat of these incidents still remains.

                           Map of incidents in July 2018/ Credit: ReCAAP ISC

July 2018

  • In July 2018, a total of seven incidents (all actual incidents) of armed robbery against ships were reported.
  • There has been an increase in the number of incidents, compared to June 2018, when only one incident was reported.
  • Of the seven incidents reported in July 2018, two incidents occurred onboard ships while underway and five incidents onboard ships at anchor/berth.

January-July 2018

  • A total of 47 incidents comprising 36 actual incidents and 11 attempted incidents, had been verified and reported to the ReCAAP ISC during January-July 2018.
  • There was a 4% decrease in the total number of incidents reported, compared to January-July 2017, when a total of 49 incidents, comprising 42 actual and seven attempted incidents, were reported.
  • There has been an increase in the number of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) during January-July 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. A total of seven incidents (comprising five actual incidents and two attempted incidents) were reported compared to two incidents (comprising one actual incident and one attempted incident) reported during the same period in 2017.

The ReCAAP ISC advises all ships to exercise enhanced vigilance and report all incidents to the nearest coastal State. Tug boats towing barges loaded with cargo are relatively more vulnerable as they are slower in speed, with lower freeboard and unmanned barges. On the part of the authorities, the relevant enforcement agencies are encouraged to beef up their surveillance, increase patrols and render assistance promptly to reports made by victim ships. Tug boats are advised to enhance vigilance with their towed barges.

 

Source: SAFETY4SEA

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Port Pirates Must Be Eliminated

 

Piracy at sea targeting cargo carrying vessels is an unfortunate reality most of us are familiar with, but piracy at berth or anchor in port is a new development.

This, however, is now a reality in Nigeria which has seen the rise and rise of this phenomenon which, according to local reports, got underway on March 2 this year with an attack on the Pamyat at Berth 14, Lagos Port Complex, Apapa. Asia Ruby was similarly attacked at the same berth in the early hours of April 24 and attacks also took place at the Tin Can Port Island Port Complex on March 3 on Aquata and Sichem New York which were discharging cargoes at Berths 2 and 1 respectively, operated by Josepdam. Four days later another attack took place at Josepdam on the Kiana which was alongside discharging bulk sugar.

The attacks are clearly opportunistic where the robbers are looking for valuables on-board ships and even goods from the terminals hosting the ships, if possible. On March 18 yet another attack took place on Josepdam with the robbers this time targeting the terminal’s fuel dump and reportedly beating and tying up security guards before siphoning off and stealing eight drums of diesel oil.

In all cases the attacks have been initiated from the seaward side of the port facilities via boats equipped with powerful motors.

Suggestions have been made that at least in some cases, these attacks have been conducted with the support of internal personnel. Adewale Adeyanju, president general of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria has stated, for example, that recently dismissed security and tally men personnel at Josepdam were involved in the attacks here. “What we are experiencing now,” he said, “might be the attitude of those who have lost their jobs.” He further noted that the dismissal of such personnel makes the terminal more open to such attacks.

The concession of terminals in Nigeria, and flowing out of this the positive focus on terminals adhering to the ISPS Code, had up until this sequence of attacks delivered a good security regime. Now, though, it is clearly time for the relevant authorities – Nigerian Ports Authority and others in partnership with terminal operators – to step in and beef up security measures to eliminate this worrying trend. Failure to do so will inevitably result in increased insurance premiums for vessels calling at these facilities.

 

Source: Hellenic shipping news

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Keep off coalition ships, Yemen fishermen told

Cairo: The Yemeni government has warned fishermen against coming closer to ships of a Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting Iran-allied Al Houthis in the country.

The warning comes amid growing threats by Al Houthi militants to international navigation.

Last month, Al Houthis attacked two Saudi oil tankers off Yemen’s West Coast, prompting the kingdom to halt the crude shipments through the Red Sea Bab Al Mandeb Strait, a suspension that was reversed on Saturday.

The Yemeni government said in a statement, carried by the official news agency Saba, that Al Houthis use fishing boat as a camouflage in attacking commercial vessels.

“Presence of fishing boats in operation zones of the coalition vessels is exploited by Al Houthis in threatening sea navigation in the south part of the Red Sea and Bab Al Mandeb,” the statement said.

It instructed the ministries of the interior and fisheries to take the necessary measures to enforce the warning and make the fishermen aware of areas where they can operate safely in territorial waters.

In September 2014, Al Houthis overran the Yemeni capital Sana’a in a coup against the internationally recognised government.

In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition initiated a campaign in Yemen against Al Houthis after the militiamen advanced on the southern city of Aden, the temporary capital of the country after their takeover of Sana’a.

In June this year, Yemeni government forces, supported by the Arab Coalition, unleashed a major offensive to expel Al Houthis from the Red Sea city of Hodeida and its crucial port.

The forces have since made territorial gains against the Iran-allied extremists.

Coalition jets had mounted a series of strikes against positions of Al Houthis in the district of Al Durahimi, regarded as the southern gateway to Hodeida, news portal Adan Al Ghad reported on Sunday.

The strikes were in support of a mop-up operation by pro-government Giants Brigades against Al Houthis in the district, the report added, citing sources linked to the group.

The attack inflicted heavy casualties and losses on the militia, they said. Dozens of Al Houthi fighters were also captured.

Hodeida is strategically important because of its harbour, which is a lifeline for millions of Yemenis, as most of the commercial imports and relief supplies enter through it to the country.

The coalition accuses Al Houthis of taking advantage of their control of the harbour to obtain weapons from their Iranian patrons as well as confiscate aid intended for Yemenis in order to sustain their war efforts.

The battle for Hodeida, controlled by Al Houthis since late 2014, is the biggest in Yemen’s war.

 

Source: Gulf news

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UN: Port of Hodeidah must remain open to help civilians

During a briefing on the conflicts around Hodeidah port, Director of Operations and Advocacy division, John Ging, highlighted the importance that this port and the port of Saleef remain open. This will facilitate the flow of imports, in order to cover urgent needs for the people that are in distress.

Conflict in Hodeidah has escalated significantly. Since 1 June, violence has forced more than 340,000 people from their homes. Most are sheltering with host communities near their areas, while others have arrived in Sana’a, Aden and nearby areas.

Sustained hostilities in Hudaydah city, interruptions to the port operations or a siege of the city would be catastrophic and must be avoided.

What is more, there is no “contingency plan” to protect civilians from conflict in Hodeidah, as the capacity of international organisations and their response would quickly be overwhelmed.

In addition, last year Hodeidah experienced a devastating cholera outbreak. This highlights the need for water and sanitation lines to be ensured.

Hodeidah and Saleef are the lifeline for the majority of imports of these essential commodities, as well as food and fuel needed by millions of Yemenis every day to survive, Mr. Ging noted.

These ports are currently open and operational. In fact, commercial food imports in May rose to their highest level since November 2016. However, food and fuel imports fell again in June and July.

While keeping all ports open is critical, we are equally concerned about maintaining adequate quantities of affordable imports through these ports. To do so, the conditions must be created whereby shipping companies have enough commercial confidence to continue supplying them.

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Tips for stowaway prevention at the Port of Durban

As the stowaway activity in the South African port of Durban has seen a recent increase, the Japan P&I Club recommended that operators should employ the services of private security guards during the vessel’s port stay at the port and that the crew should remain vigilant at all times.

As such the Club made the following recommendations:

  • The crew must not allow anyone onboard the ship who does not have a port permit.
  • Every visitor should have ISPS clearance.
  • All visitors should surrender their port permit to security and they should collect the same when they leave the ship.
  • If the crew finds someone who should not be onboard, they should be taken to the bottom of the gangway (not to the ships office) and they must call port security and advise them that the person in their custody at the bottom of the gangway tried to board the ship but they do not have a port permit.

As stowaways are known to access the vessel by climbing up the mooring lines or walking up the gangway pretending to be stevedores, the Club suggests that ships employ three private security guards on the quayside as follows:

  • one to patrol the aft mooring lines,
  • one to patrol forward mooring lines,
  • one to be posted at the bottom of the gangway. He must be briefed to check that nobody rushes up the gangway.

We also recommend that a dog search be conducted onboard the vessel prior to sailing. The Port Agent will be in a position to recommend the services of a security and stowaway search company. The dog search companies offer a guarantee to cover costs of the repatriation should they fail to detect a stowaway, however special attention should be given to their terms and conditions as these terms limit the amount of compensation payable by their company.

Source: Safety4Sea

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