TT Club Warns of New Tactics by Clandestine Entrants to UK

4 December 2001

Human Cross-Channel Traffic Developing New Methods

Last month's detention of 74 clandestine entrants in a single day (6th November) on freight trains travelling through the Channel Tunnel is a timely reminder that this serious human and economic problem has not disappeared while the media's attention is focused on terrorism.

The TT Club, the leading transport insurance mutual, is now highlighting a disturbing change in tactics.

So far, virtually all security breaches by stowaways on freight trains have taken place at the Frethun freight yards in France. But now, according to intermodal transport claims expert Colin Fordham at the TT Club's London headquarters, they appear to be gaining access to cargo containers deep in central Europe, where security checks for human presence are less prevalent.

'A number of new instances of damage apparently caused by clandestine entrants in containers have been notified to us during November alone,' Fordham revealed. 'There seems to be a change of strategy taking place. It is becoming increasingly popular to board wagons in central Europe on trains which transit the Channel Tunnel without stopping at French marshalling yards.'

Another change of tactics is an increased use by stowaways of closed dry bulk containers. Extensively employed in intra-European trade for the carriage of bulk cargoes such as powders and grains, the 30' long steel containers are fitted with polyethylene internal liners that avoid cross-contamination between cargo and container. After the containers have been filled through the loading ports in the container roof, stowaways are gaining access to the container and unhooking the liners inside, creating a space of 3 to 5 feet above the cargo contents in which they pass the journey.

The TT Club is also highlighting the risks of the new tactics. 'There is a very real danger of the loose bulk cargo shifting in transit and any stowaways inside being smothered,' said Fordham. 'In addition, it is all too likely that the shipments could be delayed or even diverted en route, leaving anybody inside the containers stranded. And if the boxes are placed into stacks for long-term storage, this could also prove fatal.'

ENDSNote to editors:

The TT Club provides liability and equipment insurance to ship operators, stevedores, terminal and depot operators, port authorities, logistics providers, freight forwarders and other transport operators in 150 countries. The TT Club insures 70% of the world's container fleet, over 2000 ports and terminals worldwide as well as 4000+ transport and logistics operations around the globe. The Club's directors are drawn largely from the membership and have significant experience within the transport industry. TT Club is the transport and logistics industry's leading provider of liability and associated insurance and risk management products. To maintain this position the TT Club will continue to maximise its value-adding process with innovative concepts such as TTXpress.com, ThruCargo, TTe-claims and Claimstrac.


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