Skip to content

Vessel and port security

A member has sent a safety notice that was passed to him from a major oil company which is of interest to all members.

Two stowaways were found on board a construction vessel that had sailed from the Shetland Islands to the Hoton Field. It is understood that the two persons initially arrived in Lerwick by stowing away in a container on another ship coming from Denmark. They realised that they were not on the British mainland and hoped to get there by stowing away on the construction ship, not realising that it was destined for an offshore field. They were discovered in a rigging container and were subsequently disembarked and handed over to the authorities in Peterhead.

The potentially more serious aspect raised is that the two persons could have been terrorists with a mission involving an offshore installation. This could have resulted in a what is described as a very high incident profile, particularly following the recent events in the USA.

The company concerned may be producing guidelines to issue to diving/construction contractors concerning container security/search, ship search/security and security controls when mobilising/demobilising personnel to a ship during port call.

Whilst this was understood to be an isolated incident, the company advises taking reasonable steps to prevent any unauthorised people embarking on ships. Bearing in mind that sub-contractors and suppliers may send containers to their ships, they also thought advisable to contact marine agents in all the ports in which they operate to make them aware of the potential threat. They request making in-house logistics and stores personnel aware of the need to secure containers whilst awaiting transfer to ships and confirmation from their regional managers that this has been done.

Similarly, their ships’ captains are told to make their crews aware of the need for extra vigilance whilst in port and when they are conducting their usual search routines.

Safety Event

Published: 1 October 2001
Download: IMCA SF 11/01

IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.