A group of 13 stowaways was found hidden in two Maersk containers aboard a vessel which arrived at APM Terminals in Algeciras, Spain from Ghana, Maersk confirmed to World Maritime News.
The men spent two weeks inside two open-top containers aboard the Liberia-flagged boxship Panther, which departed Ghana on October 6, according to media reports.
“We can confirm that on October 16, during the port stay in Algeciras of the vessel Panther, a chartered vessel operating on Maersk Line’s WAF1 (West Africa) service from Takoradi, Ghana, 13 stowaways were found by terminal stevedores,” a Maersk spokesperson said.
Subsequently, local police were informed and the Spanish Red Cross provided medical assistance to the 13 men, after which their condition has improved.
They remain under medical observation and are currently attended to by guards and the vessels’ crew in the ship’s accommodation area while the authorities are verifying their identities, the spokesperson added.
According to the Spanish immigration law – unless any of the 13 men are confirmed to be of minor age – they will be repatriated to their countries of origin, Maersk informed.
AIS data from Marine Traffic shows that the vessel, which was scheduled to depart Algeciras on October 17, is still moored in the port.
In the same vein, shipping companies are paying out unnecessary high costs by continuing to pay seafarers with cash, says leading financial services provider ShipMoney, who is currently attending the ACI HR and Crew Management Summit in London.
EVP Greg O’Connell says that on an average fleet of 50 ships, shipping operators face spending nearly $500,000 in delivering cash to vessels. Annually more than $6billion in hard currency is delivered to the global merchant fleet.
The report pointed out that with the cost of delivering cash to vessels ranging from 3% to 10% of the value being transported, shipping companies are losing significant amounts of money by paying crew via hard cash or wire transfers, ShipMoney says.
“The company offers shipping operators an alternative method for paying their crews, through a pre-paid Visa card that eliminates the cash management challenges for both the seafarer and ship owner/manager.”
Mr O’Connell stated, “These are really alarming figures. A lot of companies we are talking to don’t even realise the amounts they are paying just to pay seafarers in cash. In today’s world, where many ship operations are moving towards digitalisation, it really doesn’t need to be that way, as nearly everything a seafarer does when they get off a ship can be paid for with a card.’