Dr Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority has called for stiffer punishment for people who attempt to stowaway.
Dr Mbiah said the current GHC 250 fine issued to such people was not deterrent enough.
He made the call on Friday when he accompanied selected judges of the superior courts to visit the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) in Tema.
He explained that because stow away was not a prominent feature in the maritime industry in time past, it was considered a misdemeanour leading to the low fine.
“Now the status of stow away has changed therefore the need for the law to be reformed,” he indicated.
He noted that the act is considered a serious offence in the United Kingdom and the United States of America leading to a vessel on which a stowaway was found on to pay a fine between US Dollars 5,000 and 10,000 for each stowaway.
Dr Mbiah stated that due to the fine imposed on the vessels, crew either throw stowaways into the sea or return to the countries they sailed from.
Mr Richard Anamoo, Director General of the GPHA, also expressed concern about the increase in stowaways.
Mr Anamoo stated for instance that a container which has been labelled empty and was going through the process to be loaded on a vessel was opened on the instructions of the port security, only to see eight stowaways in it.
The Director General also said a number of stowaways were also found on a bauxite vessel at Takoradi 48 hours ago noting that while the captain decided to return to the port, two of them jumped overboard leading to the death of one.
He reiterated the need for a stiffer punishment stating however that if that was not done, GPHA may have to resort to a civil action against stowaways.
The visit forms part of an annual seminar on maritime law organized for judges by the Ghana Shippers Authority to enable them appreciate the maritime industry.