ICC: Beware Spurious Oil Fraud Claims

Thursday, March 27, 2014
Photo: ICC

The ICC reported that shipowners are facing new dangers from criminal gangs making spurious oil fraud claims. The “victims”/fraudsters try to extort money from owners by bringing action against them for failing to deliver cargoes of oil they allegedly own.

Such scams were previously confined to West Africa, ICC said, but now appear to have spread to other countries, as a case reported recently to the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) shows.

It involves a vessel that trades regularly into the Arabian Gulf. A claim has been lodged against the shipowner to recover over $50 million, the full value of a consignment of oil. The claimant alleges that the cargo of oil it owns was loaded onto the vessel in Russia but was never delivered to the designated discharge port in the Arabian Gulf. Moreover they apparently have documents to prove this, and a local court in the region has now been persuaded to issue a warrant of arrest against the vessel named in the claim.

The case has put the shipowner in a dilemma. He is reluctant to risk taking the vessel into the jurisdiction where the warrant was issued for fear it will be arrested and he will become embroiled in litigation to get it released. At the same time, he is obliged to enter the region under the terms of the vessel’s current charter party. Defaulting on it would mean he incurs financial penalties.

Another snag in the case is that the documents presented to the court to obtain the arrest warrant appear authentic and confirm that the vessel did load the oil at the Russian port although it had not called at that load port.

IMB, which is assisting the ship owner and seen the documents, are warning other owners to be on their guard. It notes what stands out in this new variation to the West African fraud is the fact that documents produced in this case seem extremely credible, enough to convince courts of the claim.

The new case takes the problem to a new level and presents shipowners with a much bigger danger to their operations because it could seemingly be replicated anywhere around the world and particularly in states whose legal systems are less robust. It also allows the perpetrators to wait for the alleged offending vessel to arrive at the designated country before lodging a claim locally. This could mean that the vessel is trapped before it can act.

“This may be the first of many other similar claims to be lodged against shipowners around the world if organised crime is involved and it is important that information on similar scams are collated,” IMB said.

“If we can build a picture of what is happening it may be possible to identify the perpetrator or at least inform shipowners what to watch out for,” IMB added.

IMB is asking shipowners who have experience or are have suspicions of this new type of crime to contact them so that a suitable response can be coordinated. IMB offers a range of services to assist shipowners in determining the authenticity of trade documents, one of which includes detailed analysis by specialist document checkers.

icc-ccs.org

Maritime Reporter October 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Tanker Trends

Venezuela Ships First Crude Mixed with Algerian Oil to China

Venezuela is sending its first shipment of crude mixed with Algerian light oil to China, according to state oil company PDVSA and traders.   Venezuela recently

Asia Tanker, VLCC Rates Could Climb

Charterers to release 30 Middle East VLCC cargoes next week. VLCC market buoyed by upbeat Suezmax, Aframax sectors. Rates for very large crude carriers (VLCCs)

BG Group's Queensland Curtis LNG to Ship First Cargo

BG Group is set to ship the first cargo of liquefied natural gas from its flagship gas project Queensland Curtis LNG on Dec. 20, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Finance

Time-out for Kwanza Drilling

Statoil has decided to cancel the Stena Carron rig contract after fulfilling the work commitments in the Statoil-operated blocks 38 and 39 in the Kwanza basin offshore Angola.

Oil Deal Between Iraqi Kurdistan & Baghdad Welcomed

The United States welcomes an agreement between Iraq's central government in Baghdad and its northern Kurdistan region over the management of oil exports, U.

Nigeria to Cut Petrol Subsidy by Half

Nigeria plans to cut subsidies on petroleum products by half next year after sharp falls in global crude prices, spurred the government to revise its 2015 budget downwards,

Energy

Gazprom Transgaz Ufa Organizes Arts Festival

Over 200 healthy children and children with disabilities from Bashkortostan as well as the Volga Region participated in the Breaking the Barriers second interregional children’s arts festival,

Time-out for Kwanza Drilling

Statoil has decided to cancel the Stena Carron rig contract after fulfilling the work commitments in the Statoil-operated blocks 38 and 39 in the Kwanza basin offshore Angola.

President Pryor Retires from ExxonMobil Chemicals

Stephen D. Pryor, president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company and vice president of Exxon Mobil Corporation, has elected to retire on January 1, 2015, after more than 44 years of service.

Maritime Security

7 Rescued from Sinking Freighter Near Haiti

Seven crewmembers were rescued after their 100-foot coastal freighter began taking on water and sank approximately 45 miles north off of Cap Haitien, Haiti, Friday.

USS Oscar Austin Deploys to 6th fleet

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) departed Naval Station Norfolk Nov. 21 for a deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).

Bouchard Vessels Honored by SCA

Forty-three Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. vessels have been honored by The Chamber of Shipping America (CSA) with Certificates of Environmental Achievement.

News

7 Rescued from Sinking Freighter Near Haiti

Seven crewmembers were rescued after their 100-foot coastal freighter began taking on water and sank approximately 45 miles north off of Cap Haitien, Haiti, Friday.

Gazprom Transgaz Ufa Organizes Arts Festival

Over 200 healthy children and children with disabilities from Bashkortostan as well as the Volga Region participated in the Breaking the Barriers second interregional children’s arts festival,

Time-out for Kwanza Drilling

Statoil has decided to cancel the Stena Carron rig contract after fulfilling the work commitments in the Statoil-operated blocks 38 and 39 in the Kwanza basin offshore Angola.

Offshore Energy

Time-out for Kwanza Drilling

Statoil has decided to cancel the Stena Carron rig contract after fulfilling the work commitments in the Statoil-operated blocks 38 and 39 in the Kwanza basin offshore Angola.

Update: Explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

An explosion occurred aboard a production platform Thursday at West Delta 105, operated by Fieldwood Energy, resulting in one fatality and three injured. The Bureau

Deepwater Semi-Sub COSL Prospector Delivered

COSLProspector, the fourth deep-water semi-submersible drilling rig built by CIMC Raffles for China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL), has been delivered in Yantai, Shandong Province.

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2494 sec (4 req/sec)