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Police warn border control lacking in Antwerp port

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

BRUSSELS – The various government agencies which police the Antwerp port are seriously under-funded and so short-staffed that they are not able to do their jobs properly. For example, Antwerp’s port police – in Dutch called scheepvaartpolitie – complains about having only one 35-year old rusty police boat but no funds for proper maintenance. Poor staffing levels prevent the city’s port police from checking Africa-bound cargo ships loaded with cars which may have been stolen. While labour union VSOA threatens job action to draw attention to the problems, Antwerp’s city owned port authority denied there is a problem since there the port police is only one link in the control chain. It says that the customs service checks the freight, the port captain’s service monitors dangerous goods and that the port police are responsible for safety in and around the 75,000 ships which dock and depart from Antwerp each year. The port police claim that only one out of ten ships are checked.