One of the major problems shipowners might face is the presence of stowaways on board of their vessel. And what we mean by problem it is not only economy and security-wise but also, and above all, in terms of “human factor” involved in this situation.
On the one hand, we have the Master and the crew who are being affected by the sudden intrusion of one or several strangers in their work place and the place of their communal living and who, additionally, become fully responsible for the stowaways’ life situation.
On the other hand, the stowaways themselves, once they are discovered on board of the vessel sailing towards an unknown place, live their own situation in fear and uncertainty, as we shall not forget that there is almost zero probability that they would disembark and would be well-accepted in the country of the scheduled port call of the vessel.
AIYON Abogados has been recently involved in this kind of issue while assisting a vessel that stopped at one of the Spanish ports. Our firm assisted the shipowners of a vessel who had to undergo the problem of repatriation of five stowaways found on board of their vessel which was expected to make a stopover at a Spanish port.
This operation of assisting the shipowners, the Master, the crew and the stowaways was executed with great success and the five stowaways were repatriated to their country of origin in less than seven days, once the vessel had reached the Spanish port.
To accomplish such an endeavor, as the one handled by AIYON Abogados, entails almost full commitment to the matter given the urgent need of the vessel to resolve the situation on board and to continue her journey. From the moment the stowaways were found on board until the successful completion of their repatriation, our firm, among others, had to coordinate efforts jointly with the Police and the Local Authorities of the port of arrival and their supreme institutions located in Madrid, such as the Embassy of the country of origin of the stowaways. In the term of one week, the needs and requirements of the vessel, the Master and the crew, and the Spanish authorities had to be met, as well as the issuance of the needed documentation and permits had to be coordinated, booking travel documents and hiring an external security company had to be organized, etc. In addition to all this, we shall not forget, the already mentioned “human factor”. That is, treating the stowaways always and all the time in the appropriate manner, respecting their needs and dignity, keeping them duly informed and guaranteeing a safe repatriation.
In such a complex cases like this one, AIYON Abogados met shipowners’ expectations and arranged safe return of the stowaways back to their home country, successfully restoring on- board living and working conditions in the minimum amount of time.