Stowaways have been a problem to shipowners for about as long as there have been
ships in the sea. In the early days of sailing ships and looser maritime
legislation, this was a relatively minor problem. This probably had to due with
the fact that the ships were smaller in comparison to today's standards, and
were comparatively heavily crewed. Thus the chances for a stowaway to get on
board and go undiscovered for any length of time were fairly small. Also in
that age, the concept of "human rights" was not what it is today, and any
stowaways that were found often became involuntary members of the crew. There
was, therefore, little incentive to become an unpaying passenger on a merchant
ship. Today, however, ships have become ever larger, the maritime world has
become increasingly regulated, and the issue of stowaways has become a major
There are really several reasons why stowaways have become more of a problem.
The real driv...