Suspicious Stowaways Possibly ISIS-Connected

Greek Coast Guard

Published Feb 21, 2015 12:44 AM by The Maritime Executive

Signum Services have recently dealt with a case of suspicious stowaways found on board a Ro-Ro ship sailing from Italy to Turkey.

The two suspects with no identification documents were found by the crew. The captain contacted the coast guard in Greece who arranged for the stowaways to be taken ashore by launch to the Island of Limnos. During the investigation it became clear that they boarded the vessel in Italy, hiding under the chassis of a truck. Their intention was to travel onwards from Istanbul to Syria.

Concerns were raised that both of them were trying out a new route to get to Syria to avoid detection and join ISIS, or one of the other militant groups fighting in the region. The Greek authorities believe that as stowaways on ships they will avoid the need to have photographic national identification travel documents as used at airports and borders. 

More worrying is that this could also be the return route after their training or fighting in Syria or Iraq and could pose a bigger threat to their returning country.

The UK P&I Club has been informed that there have been a number of similar incidents involving ships from French and Italian Ports, Marseilles in particular.

This bulletin is intended to raise awareness and emphasize the importance of proper security procedures in order to prevent stowaways from gaining access to the ship, says the club.

Source of Information: Signum Services, Thomas Miller P&I (Europe) Ltd