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ICC Warns Of Recent Container Weight Fraud

by Robert Lee,, London

27 November 2014

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has warned of a new and unusual attempted fraud involving the weight and size of a shipping container.

In a briefing published on November 12, the IMB described an incident involving a container of aluminum scrap in which the information outside the box was tampered with to show false weight and size. As notified by one of its members, the IMB said the case involved an underweight container with false information that arrived in the Far East from the Middle East.

The tare weight of the 20-foot container, as shown on its door – and used by the shipper – at 3,680kg, was consistent with a 40-foot container. The shipper has since confirmed that the correct tare weight for the container should have been 2,200kg.

An examination of the photos taken when the container was loaded revealed that the part of the door on which the figures were displayed was a slightly different color, leading investigators to the conclusion that the door had been repainted at some point, and the new, false figures were added thereafter.

The IMB says that this is the first time it has seen a case of this type, although it has knowledge of a case where a label was placed over the container number of a stolen container to disguise theft.

As well as being fraudulent, the misdeclaration of the weight of a container can pose dangers to vessels and crew and can be a contributory factor to incidents involving the loss of containers to the sea.

The IMB suggested that this is unlikely to be an isolated case and has asked others to report similar cases of tampering to enable it to establish a pattern that may uncover who is responsible and, in the interim, issue a warning to the industry.

TAGS: marine

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