What can I do to avoid problems with illegal immigrants?
You should always be vigilant to problems posed by migrants and illegal immigrants when travelling by ferry.
However, there are a few handy tips you should be aware of. Border Force officials are responsible for entry controls at the border and their responsibilities include immigration and security checks and prevention of people trafficking. The Border Force and UK Border Agency have produced a check list to be completed after loading, after each time you stop and as a final check. An extra check should be carried out if time between the third party check and embarkation is more than 15 minutes. The list of things to check are:
- Vehicle/trailer inside
- Tilts and roof checked for damage
- External compartments
- Below vehicle
- TIR cord tight and in place and checked (including physically for evidence of tampering, in particular that it has been cut and rejoined)
- Seals and padlocks. They should be checked physically to ensure they have not been cut or broken and repaired. If a padlock is difficult to open or close this may suggest it has been tampered with.
- 3rd party check (e.g. with Carbon Dioxide or other types of equipment)
- Driver’s cab
If you are travelling through Calais, Coquelles or Dunkerque the final check should be carried out before entering the UK control zone. If you are using another port the final check should take place immediately before boarding the ferry.
Drivers are always encouraged to take advantage of any pre-embarkation checks available and to obtain written confirmation of these. Home Office officials’ primary interests are in confirming that companies are operating their own security system based on the Code of Practice. The paperwork supporting such systems should include a checklist to be completed and signed by the driver and these should be checked and retained in the same way as tachograph charts or maintenance records.
Penalties for being caught with clandestines on board are variable with a maximum level of £2000 per stowaway. The actual amount imposed should reflect the respective degree of negligence by driver, operator and/or hirer.
There is no liability if it can be shown that a driver
- Did not know and had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that a clandestine entrant was, or might be, concealed on board his vehicle
- Operated an effective system in relation to the vehicle to prevent the carriage of clandestine entrants
- On the occasion concerned the person or persons responsible for operating that system did so properly