The London P&I Club
has warned its members to be particularly vigilant while their vessels are in the port of Antwerp
, following recent reports of a spate of robberies. Although Antwerp port and police officials claim that reports of the robberies have been greatly exaggerated, they are currently monitoring the harbor area at regular nightly intervals.
In the latest edition of its StopLoss Bulletin, the London Club notes
that there have been about fifteen prosecutions for theft on board ships at Antwerp in the past twelve months. The Club urges masters and crew to take special care not to unwittingly provide opportunities to would-be thieves, and stresses that it is vital that masters always report thefts to the authorities immediately they are ascertained, thereby helping the authorities to initiate legal proceedings.
Elsewhere in the StopLoss Bulletin, the Club alerts its members to reports from Italy that organized gangs in Genoa and Leghorn are using container stuffing stations as a base to put stowaways in containers, principally consigned for the United States and Canada.
In the past year, at least seventy Romanian stowaways have reportedly been discovered in Genoa. But, most recently, the problem seems to be more acute at Leghorn, where recent initiatives include the use of infra-red cameras to detect the presence of stowaways inside containers.