Deportation the stowaways from the Ukraine
During the last three years a growing number of the vessels have been calling at Ukrainian ports with stowaways on board. The cause is believed to be the toughening of the immigration regulations in the EU, North America and other countries. Therefore, many shipowners are seeking disembarkation and repatriation of stowaways in Eastern Europe.
Despite the fact that Ukrainian legislation stipulates that persons found to be in Ukrainian territory illegally must be deported, in fact there had been no precedent for deportating stowaways from the Ukraine. As a rule, immigration authorities would appoint guards to look after the stowaways until the vessel left the port. There was no procedure for deportation.
However, due to efforts of Azovlloyd disembarkation followed by deportation of a stowaway was successfully carried out in July 1999. As a result, the following procedure has been worked out with local authorities: -
1. Upon a vessel’s arrival at Mariupol port, immigration authorities (IA) seize documents belonging to stowaways in order to exam them and maintain a watch over the stowaways in order to avoid any illegal entry into the Ukraine. It is very important to notify the IA of the presence of any stowaways on board the ship. Furthermore, it is necessary to mention in the above notification that the stowaways boarded the vessel illegally. In addition, in order to avoid entry into the Ukraine, the Shipowner should ask the IA to assist with deportation of the stowaways. This formality enables the Shipowner to avoid liability and can be considered as the first step in relation to resolving the question of repatriation.
2. Having examined the documents, the IA questions the stowaways in order to find out the reasons for stowing away and, especially, how they boarded the ship. Shipowners should be aware of the fact that the services of an interpreter should be arranged and paid for by the ship’s agent/correspondent. Once this procedure is completed, the IA will decide whether to pursue criminal charges against the stowaways for illegal entry into the Ukraine or whether to forward them to the police authorities (PA) for deportation.
3. In a case when the IA decide to forward the stowaways to the PA, it will be necessary to provide the PA with a notification similar to that which was tendered to the IA, together with photographs of the stowaways and photocopies of such documents as the stowaways may have with them. After that the PA prepare a case file to pass to Regional Prosecutor who should sanction the stowaways’ deportation from the Ukraine under escort of PA guardians who will accompany the stowaways on part of the journey to their country of origin. The cost of the above escort will be for the Shipowners’ account.
4. Due to non-availability of the facilities for keeping the stowaways by either the immigration or police authorities, Shipowners should be aware that during the time required for obtaining of an order for deportation, the stowaways will be obliged to stay on board the vessel in the custody of the ship’s crew or IA guardians.
5. The above procedure depends on the availability of the stowaways’ identification documents. Otherwise, it will be necessary to obtain something like an Identification Card from the authorities representing the countries of the stowaways’ place of origin in order to enable the Ukrainian PA to provide the stowaways with relevant visa.
21 November, 2006