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Julian Bray [01733 345581] writes: Up to now its been the poor security surrounding air cargo shipments from middle and far east airports that has concerned cargo professionals, but the news that a Major Incident Plan was put into action at Tilbury, when 34 people and several children, all believed to be of Indian origin, were found locked inside an international shipping container,which had arrived and been offloaded at the Port of Tilbury has ensured that security issues surrounding shipping containers will now be high on the agenda.
It could also mean that all UK bound container shipments into secondary UK ports have to start CO2 air-sniffing, and x-raying all incoming containers. The additional cost and time delays could well put some ports out of business, and generally raise the cost of importing, if the Government makes enhanced security measures, at all UK ports mandatory, as clearly we can no longer trust container traffic to be loaded at the point of departure and be 100% secure...
The occupants (or stowaways) started screaming and banging on the inside of their metal tomb, they were found to be suffering from hypothermia and dehydration. Standard shipping containers are NOT airtight, as wrongly stated by one reporter, there are several small vents essentially to prevent any gas build up (bananas for example give off ethanol) and to maintain a flow of fresh air, but designed for cargo, rather than people converting that air stream to CO2.
Possibly if all inside had been very passive, with minimal movement and conserved the available oxygen, then the people trafficers might have got away with it. The question remains: How long has this been going on? At a thirty plus headcount for each container say one a week... You do the maths!
Sadly one person died at Tilbury, and the others have all been rapidly transferred to major hospitals in the region. And due to the rapid response of Port Police, and the Ambulance paramedics, all those hospitalised are now said to be out of immediate danger.
The Eastern Region Ambulance Service which has come under many attacks and top management changes in recent years, was at the location within 11 minutes, with 7 ambulances and 2 rapid response units. This was backed up by a mobile Command Centre with a satellite communications scanner deployed. A rapid triage and logistics major incident plan was greenlighted, and all regional hospitals immediately alerted and put on a virtual 'war' footing.
The next stage has to be identification of the truck(s) and driver(s) involved, along with those running this deadly trade in human suffering... Clearly if this is a pipeline operation, other consignments of stowaways could already be on their way to the UK from India... like a manufacturing production line its virtually impossible to halt the process once its been activated. This may help the authorities close down this major breach of UK immigration controls
JULIAN BRAY [ 01733 345581 ], Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, Writer and Coach EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN changed number 01733 345020) SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe A later updated version is always on the Website
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