Nov 182014
 

Over the past few years the industry has tried to bring order to the problem of misdeclared container weights, and issue that presets seriosu hazardous to the lives of seafarers and their ships but that doesn’t stop attempts to fraudulently change indicators of container weight, as the   the ICC’s International Maritime Bureau, IMB, has revealed. It’s worth keeping an eye on those boxes.

The incident uncovered by IMB concerned a container of aluminium scrap in which the information outside the box was tampered with to show false weight and size. An IMB member highlighted the case after being notified of a significant weight shortage on the container, which arrived in the Far East from the Middle East.

During the investigation that followed, the member noted that the tare weight of the container, as shown on its door – and used by the shipper – was 3,680kg. The cube, also shown on the door, was 2,700 cubic feet.

The numbers displayed were entirely acceptable for a 40 foot container. However the box in question was a 20 foot one. Continue reading »

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Jun 182014
 

msic_cardAustralia’s Maritime Safety Authority,AMSA, is urging people to beware of a global scam offering overseas residents a Maritime Security Identification Card MSIC and Australian visas to gain jobs with cruise companies. Scammers are targeting people in several countries with emails offering job opportunities with cruise lines operating in Australia and a relevant visa.

AMSA became aware of the email scam in October last year and a number of people have reported being targeted by the scam or have been scammed. The email scam offers job opportunities with bogus cruise lines, including Silver Cruise and Princess Line Australia, operating in Australia and a relevant visa on the completion of paperwork of the inaccurately named “Australia Maritime Security Identification Card” (AMSIC).

Ship Safety Division General Manager Allan Schwartz said the form sent to those responding to the email was fraudulent but has fooled some with a reasonably sophisticated look.
“The form has AMSA’s logo and name at the top and requests a payment, along with scans of passport and identity cards to apply for the identification card,” Schwartz says. Continue reading »

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Apr 132011
 

As it gets harder to find seatime, and with people increasingly unwilling to do what it actually takes to get it, faking certificates and indeed experience is a becoming a serious issue. An issue that has unfortunately been brought to the fore in the world of Dynamic Positioning (DP).

An article in the Spring edition of 6degrees form the International Dynamic Positioning Operators Association (IDPOA), looks at the fakes breaking the system and discusses cases of trainees ‘flogging’ their logs and even old hands getting a little creative with their time accountancy. Continue reading »

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Feb 182011
 



ADE 651, one of several explosives/drugs/stowaway detectors that are not fit for purpose

Following the arrest of Major General Jihad al-Jabiri, commander of the bomb squad in Iraq, on corruption charges related to the controversial ADE-651 explosives detector Maritime Accident Casebook has developed and issued a briefing paper for Ship Security Officers and others with a security remit. The ADE651 and similar devices are widely used in South and South East Asia, China and Belgium and present a risk to seafarers, their ships and cargo.

Although the UK government has banned exports of the ADE651 and similar devices to Iraq and Afghanistan exports to other countries are permitted. Mexico’s Pemex has bought several of the devices for use in defending its facilities and China and Belgium reportedly use the devices in ports. Continue reading »

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Jan 312011
 

Naked Wiccan priestesses to defend seafarers, voodoo to protect

Unival, which markets the well-known HEDD1 bomb-drug-Elvis Presley detector which uses what the company calls “intangible science” to imbue telescopic radio antennae dowsing rods with magical aether is to launch counter-piracy measures using similar technology.

At a so-far undisclosed location near a bank an undisclosed number of specially-trained Wiccan High Priestesses have been equipped with an undisclosed number of crystal balls with which to monitor the proximity of pirates to client’s vessels. An undisclosed executive says: “Counter-piracy monitoring team is very well experienced. They have been handling balls for a number of years”.

Should a pirate threat be verified the Wiccan Priestesses will cast aside their clothing, dance naked in a circle and project curses through the ectosphere at the approaching skiffs, a process dubbed Synchronous Holistic Intervention Technology.

Says the Unival executive: “Balls and SHIT provide an all-encompassing protective zone that has proven as effective in this domain as the HEDD1 has proven effective in its domain”.

An optional protective measure available to clients is the provision of a highly decorated dried gourd rattle which can be shaken at attackers. Says a retired army colonel: “Acoustic deterrents are a well-establish technology. We have been criticised for the installation fee of $25,000 dollars per ship but you must remember this is a high quality product: each bead is a pulped and super-compressed copy of the Harry Potter book of your choice”.

Continue reading »

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Jan 292011
 

"this equipment does not detect explosives" say experts

MAC’s flabber is rarely gasted but the latest edition of the BBC’s Newnight programme got close to doing that. Not only is the UK government still permitting the export of fraudulent, non-functioning explosives and drugs detectors which are promoted for use in ports but lent the name of the Royal Engineers to sell them.

Upfront, here’s how to detect a fraudulent bomb detector: it will have a telescopic radio aerial on a swivel.

If you see something answering that description in your travels alert MAC.

Hundreds of people in Iraq and several in Thailand are believed to have been killed because the devices cannot detect explosives.

The devices cost £11 to make, around $15 and then they are sold for £15,000 each, about $21,000.

The retired Colonel who sells them admits he wouldn’t use them in a life or death situation, perhaps not quite understanding what a bomb detector is actually supposed to do.

The British government has refused to ban the export of the devices except to Iraq and Afghanistan because of competition in the fraud industry from other countries.

Here’s a press release from the BBC about the latest Newsnight programme: Continue reading »

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Dec 312010
 
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A swivelling radio antenna? Probably a fake bomb detector

New

Download the free briefing for ship security officers and others with a security remit here.

The briefing provides the background to the devices and the hazards they present when used in a maritime/port security context, how to identify them and suggested responses when the devices are known to be in use.

SSO Briefing

Seafarers may lose their lives if fraudulent ‘bomb-detectors’ currently being marketed to gullible government security agencies and anti-terrorism companies are used to assess the presence or absence of explosives aboard ship. Ship security officers should learn to identify this class of equipment and be aware that it does not work, cannot detect what the makers claim it can detect,  and that any reliance on such equipment represents a hazard to the vessel, its crew and its cargo. Continue reading »

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Sep 142009
 

image If, like MAC, you occasionally get challenged with “Well, explain the Bermuda Triangle, then” that a gander at BBC Radio 4’s series “Inside The Bermuda Triangle”, presented by investigative journalist Tom Mangold. MAC looked into this issue a quarter of a century ago and came to the same conclusions – backed up by MAC’s own multiple passage through the area.

In the first episode Mangold exposed the fraudulent articles by Vincent Gaddes that started the whole dreary goosechase and, in later episodes demolishes further myths.

Mangold exposes how reports by maritime and air incident investigators have been deliberately distorted to fabricate the fiction we know as the Bermuda Triangle.

A good listen. Check out for yourself here.

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Cosco Busan Trial, Testing The Waters?

 accident reporting, containership, oil spill, Pollution  Comments Off on Cosco Busan Trial, Testing The Waters?
Aug 042008
 

Hear the pitter-patter of running feet? Could be ship managers running to their lawyer’s office, or ambulance-chasing lawyers running after ship managers, following the indictment of Hong Kong-based Fleet Management by the US Department of Justice. It’s a case that could have far-reaching implications on the industry, as BIMCO’s Watchkeeper has observed.

At this moment, at least outside the more voracious media, Fleet Management, like Captain John Cota who conned the containership Cosco Busan when it made contact with the San Francisco-Oakland bridge, is innocent unless the trial, which starts on 17th November, decides otherwise.

Says the DOJ: “Fleet Management, the company responsible for operating the Cosco Busan, was charged today with six felony counts for making false statements and obstruction of justice. According to the indictment, Fleet Management, acting through senior ship officers and shore-based supervisory officials, concealed and covered-up documents with an intent to impede, obstruct and influence the investigation of the spill. The falsified documents include a fictitious passage plan for Nov. 7, 2007, the day of the crash, as well as two prior voyages made after Fleet assumed management of the vessel in October 2007. Fleet’s safety procedures, required by US law, mandated berth-to-berth passage plans for each voyage. However, according to the indictment, Fleet created falsified plans after the crash and concealed and covered up the real ship records.”

At time of writing, the ship’s officers themselves have not be charged, although six of them remain in detention in Los Angeles, where they have been since the incident last November as ‘material witnesses’.

It would be improper to comment on this specific case until after the trial but the allegations seem to be a breach in the wall of that established legal principle by which the Master takes the fall, prehaps a recognition that, in the 21st century, the concept of the master being the sole authority holds less and less water.

In the days before radio, satellite communications and the internet there was no reasonable alternative to the principle of “Master only under God”. A master could not refer decisions upwards to management. Today, management is aboard ship electronically, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the master has about the same authority as a truck driver whilst holding far greater responsibility.

The trial of John Cota and Fleet Management will deserve close coverage. Under the microscope, it seems, will be the relationship between pilot and master and the relatiuonship between master and company management. Buy your tickets early.

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