Durban has become a so-called safe Mecca for potential stowaways to board vessels as they desire. It is common knowledge that the intended authorities do not have the manpower or logistics to combat this callous and evil crime; that is placing a tremendous financial burden on ship owners via their P&I Clubs.

It is the writer’s sincere opinion without prejudice, that as long as both harbours are unprotected and under policed in a meaningful way, stowaways will rule the roost and have immeasurable impacts on the African route.

From experience we have now discovered that stowaways have more increasingly targeted vessels calling for bunkers, because they do not have to wait for days, reducing their supply of water and glucose in lieu of the vessel sailing.

We must bring to your notice that every stowaway we have detected is not of South African origin, but from practically any other country in Africa.

This in our opinion and again, without prejudice, can only be contributed to the waging wars and political turmoil. It is thus a matter of great concern notwithstanding your concerns, but the eventual impact on the entire shipping industry and South Africa’s export and import potential and credibility as so-called “safe harbours”.