African Stowaway Found Dead in Philadelphia
The body of a man, presumed to be a stowaway from Africa, has been found in the cargo hold of a ship carrying bags of cocoa beans to the U.S.
The UK-flagged Sian C was being unloaded at Pier 84 on the Delaware River, Philadelphia, when the body was found on Monday. The vessel had docked last Thursday after a 5,000 mile voyage from the Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire).
Authorities were called to recover the decomposing body, and customs officials are trying to identify the man. He was found with a backpack containing some provisions and a pair of boots.
The man may have died as a result of suffocation or been crushed by the bags of cocoa beans, reports local media.
The IMO conducted a regional seminar on stowaways in the Ivory Coast in March which was hosted by the Ministry of Transport of Côte d’Ivoire. Participants agreed that port facilities need to further strengthen their capacities for surveillance and access control in order to reduce the incidence of stowaways.
The 12 most frequent ports of embarkation for stowaways are the major ports of Benin, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The International Group of P&I Clubs puts the annual cost of all stowaway cases worldwide at approximately $15.3 million (measured from February 2011 to February 2012).