Facebook Used to Forge Seafarer Certificate

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
From the Maritime & Coastguard Agency Press Office comes this:

A 29 year old Bournemouth woman voluntarily attended Bournemouth Police Station on Friday and was formally cautioned after certification she used to hire a yacht last year was found to be fraudulent.

The woman hired a yacht in the summer of 2007 from a South coast charter firm whose conditions of hire were that the charterer should provide a valid MCA/RYA Yachtmaster certificate. The woman in question submitted a photocopy of a certificate which was initially accepted but later found to be a forgery. The matter was reported to the Enforcement unit of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

The Marine Unit of Dorset Police carried out a full investigation of the incident and on the 22nd February the woman attended Bournemouth Police Station . The decision was made to release the offender with a caution for a Fraud Act offence as she was of previous good character, the yacht was returned undamaged and the charter was paid in full. As a result of being cautioned the individual now has her DNA, fingerprints and photograph on file. If she should come to the notice of the Police for offences of a similar nature then she will go to court.

In this case the offender found an original Yachtmasters certificate on Facebook on which she based her photocopy. She then presented staff with the photocopy of the altered certificate, stating that she did not carry the original certificate on her in case it was lost.

Captain Andrew Phillips of the MCA Enforcement Unit said: Seafarers should never publish copies of their certification on the Internet. If you have already done so then you are strongly advised to remove them immediately. Having the document on the Internet allows them to be copied, and then abused. Equally, when checking seafarers documentation, always ask to see the original document.

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