The Maritime Safety Committee,
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Statutory Documents - IMO Publications and Documents - Resolutions - Maritime Safety Committee - Resolution MSC.312(88) Revised Guidelines on the Prevention of Access by Stowaways and the Allocation of Responsibilities to Seek the Successful Resolution of Stowaway Cases (Adopted on 2 December 2010) - The Maritime Safety Committee,

The Maritime Safety Committee,

 RECALLING Article 28(b) of the Convention on the International Maritime Organization concerning the functions of the Committee,

 HAVING CONSIDERED the general purpose of the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965, as amended (the FAL Convention), and in particular article III thereof,

 RECALLING the provisions of resolution A.1027(26) on Application and revision of the Guidelines on the allocation of responsibilities to seek the successful resolution of stowaway cases (resolution A.871(20)),

 RECALLING ALSO that the International Convention Relating to Stowaways, 1957, which attempted to establish an internationally acceptable regime for dealing with stowaways, has not yet come into force,

 RECALLING FURTHER that, in accordance with article VII(2)(a) of the FAL Convention, the Facilitation Committee, at its twenty-ninth session, adopted by resolution FAL.7(29) Amendments to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965, as amended, which introduced a new section 4 on Stowaways in the Annex to the Convention, prescribing Standards and Recommended Practices on matters relating to stowaways (the FAL provisions on stowaways), which entered into force on 1 May 2003,

 RECALLING IN ADDITION that, for the purpose of this resolution, a stowaway is defined as a person who is secreted on a ship, or in cargo which is subsequently loaded on the ship, without the consent of the shipowner or the master or any other responsible person, and who is detected on board the ship after it has departed from a port, or in the cargo while unloading it in the port of arrival, and is reported as a stowaway by the master to the appropriate authorities,

 NOTING with concern the number of incidents involving stowaways, the consequent potential for disruption of maritime traffic, the impact such incidents may have on the safe and secure operation of ships and the considerable risks faced by stowaways, including loss of life,

 NOTING FURTHER that the Assembly, at its twentieth regular session, adopted, by resolution A.871(20), Guidelines on the allocation of responsibilities to seek the successful resolution of stowaway cases (the Guidelines),

 RECALLING that resolution A.1027(26)expressed conviction of the need to align, to the extent possible and desirable, the Guidelines with the FAL provisions on stowaways and to revise them in a manner that reflects developments in efforts undertaken to prevent stowaways, as well as to provide guidance and recommendations, taking into account the FAL provisions on stowaways, on measures which can be implemented by vessels to prevent cases involving stowaways,

 RECOGNIZING that the revision of the Guidelines should be done in a manner that does not duplicate the existing provisions of the Special measures to enhance maritime security contained in chapter XI-2 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended, and in the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, but augments and supplements them in the context of preventing cases involving stowaways,

 RECALLING that one of the functional requirements of the ISPS Code is to prevent unauthorized access of any kind to ships, port facilities and their restricted areas, and that ship security assessments and port facility security assessments should consider all possible threats, including the presence of stowaways,

 TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that some stowaways may be asylum seekers and refugees, which should entitle them to such relevant procedures as those provided by international instruments and national legislation,

 BEING AWARE that considerable difficulties continue to be encountered by shipmasters and shipping companies, shipowners and ship operators when stowaways are to be disembarked from ships into the care of the appropriate authorities,

 AGREEING that the existence of the present guidance should in no way be regarded as condoning or encouraging the practice of stowing away and other illegal migration, and should not undermine efforts to combat the separate problems of alien smuggling or human trafficking

 NOTING that several Member States which are also Contracting Governments to the FAL Convention:

  • (a) have notified the Secretary-General, in accordance with article VIII(1) of the FAL Convention (in relation to the Standards specified in section 4 of the Annex to the FAL Convention) either that they find it impracticable to comply with the above-mentioned Standards or of differences between their own practices and those Standards; or

  • (b) have not yet notified the Secretary-General, in accordance with article VIII(3) of the FAL Convention, that they have brought their formalities, documentary requirements and procedures into accord in so far as practicable with the Recommended Practices specified in section 4 of the Annex to the FAL Convention,

 NOTING ALSO that the parallel existence of the Guidelines and the FAL provisions on stowaways has raised questions in relation to the procedures to be followed for dealing with stowaways by Member States which are also Contracting Governments to the FAL Convention, in particular those referred to above,

 BELIEVING that, at present, stowaway cases can best be resolved through close co-operation among all authorities and persons concerned,

 BELIEVING FURTHER that, in normal circumstances, through such cooperation, stowaways should, as soon as practicable, be removed from the ship concerned and returned to the country of nationality/citizenship or to the port of embarkation, or to any other country which would accept them,

 RECOGNIZING that stowaway incidents should be dealt with humanely by all Parties involved, giving due consideration to the operational safety of the ship and its crew,

 WHILST URGING national authorities, port authorities, shipowners and masters to take all reasonable precautions to prevent stowaways gaining access to vessels,

 RECALLING ALSO resolution A.1027(26), adopted by the Assembly at its twenty-seventh regular session, by which the Assembly, inter alia, authorized the Facilitation Committee and the Maritime Safety Committee to adopt jointly the necessary amendments to the Guidelines and to promulgate them by appropriate means,

 HAVING CONSIDERED the work done by the Facilitation Committee, at its thirty-sixth session,

 NOTING that the Facilitation Committee, at its thirty-seventh session, is expected to adopt a resolution on Revised guidelines on the prevention of access by stowaways and the allocation of responsibilities to seek the successful resolution of stowaway cases, in which it will adopt identical amendments to the Guidelines,

  • 1. ADOPTS the Revised guidelines on the prevention of access by stowaways and the allocation of responsibilities to seek the successful resolution of stowaway cases, set out in the Annex to the present resolution;

  • 2. AGREES that the provisions of this resolution should, in accordance with resolution A.1027(26), be considered as being of relevance only with respect to:

    • (a) Member States which are not Contracting Governments to the FAL Convention; and

    • (b) Member States which are Contracting Governments to the FAL Convention and which:

      • (i) have notified the Secretary-General, in accordance with article VIII(1) of the FAL Convention (in relation to the Standards specified in section 4 of the Annex to the FAL Convention) either that they find it impracticable to comply with the aforementioned Standards or of differences between their own practices and those Standards; or

      • (ii) have not yet notified the Secretary-General, in accordance with article VIII(3) of the FAL Convention, that they have brought their formalities, documentary requirements and procedures into accord in so far as practicable with the Recommended Practices specified in section 4 of the Annex to the FAL Convention;

  • 3. URGES Governments to implement in their national policies and practices the amended procedures recommended in the annexed Guidelines as from 1 October 2011;

  • 4. URGES ALSO Governments to deal with stowaway cases in a spirit of cooperation with other parties concerned, on the basis of the allocation of responsibilities set out in the annexed Guidelines;

  • 5. INVITES shipping companies, shipowners, ship operators and other stakeholders to take on the relevant responsibilities set out in the annexed Guidelines and to guide their masters and crews as to their respective responsibilities in stowaway cases;

  • 6. INVITES Governments to develop, in cooperation with the industry, comprehensive strategies to improve access control and prevent intending stowaways from gaining access to ships;

  • 7. AGREES that the Maritime Safety Committee should continue to monitor the effectiveness of the annexed Guidelines on the basis of information provided by Governments and the industry, to keep them under review and to take such further action;

  • 8. REQUESTS ALSO the Assembly to endorse the action taken by the Maritime Safety Committee and the Facilitation Committee.


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