|Surge in stowaway numbers at Walvis port|
|Written by Floris Steenkamp|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 21:57|
A total of 15 stowaways have been detained in the port of Walvis Bay during May and June and the first few days of July alone, Erongo Police Commander Samuel //Hoebeb told the press earlier this week.He says the growing number of stowaways has become a matter of concern lately.
The 15 stowaways arrested over the past two months are all currently in custody in Walvis Bay, awaiting deportation to their respective countries of origin, being Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana. Two of the fifteen are juveniles.
People are often desperate to escape poverty, famine or political and sectarian violence in their home countries. They fail to obtain work visas for other countries, or are too poor to emigrate. Many opt for the desperate and risky option of sneaking, or bribing their way onto ships with the hope that the ship’s destination would offer them a better chance at life.
Due to the fact that most ports are security-cubicles, the stowaways are usually detected and detained before they can enter the country illegally. Others are discovered whilst the ship is at sea and are then detained at the next port of call. In the case of these fifteen stowaways, they were not underway to Walvis Bay, but the port of Walvis Bay was the next port of call where they are disembarked, incarcerated and eventually deported.
Expenses associated with the expatriation of stowaways are usually charged to the account of the vessel owner and the captain of the vessel can also be held accountable. This has led to vessel captains and crews escaping responsibility for stowaways by sending them adrift onto make-shift rafts on the high seas, with only a few days of water and food rations. Countless others have been murdered by being thrown overboard.