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 July 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Finance

Ross is Fleet Manager, Heidmar

Heidmar announced the promotion of Duncan Ross to Fleet Manager. Duncan joined Heidmar’s London office in 2012 as vessel manager.  Prior to joining Heidmar,

Diana Shipping Nets 2Q Loss

Diana Shipping Inc. today reported a net loss of $14.1 million and net loss attributed to common stockholders of $15.5 million for the second quarter of 2015, compared to net loss of $5.

U.S. Drillers Add Rigs Despite Crude Collapse

U.S. energy firms added 5 oil rigs this week after putting 21 rigs into service last week, the most in over a year, despite a collapse in U.S. crude prices from recent highs in June,

Energy

Optimized Tug-Barge System Designs by Robert Allan

Optimized Tug-Barge System Designs by Robert Allan Ltd. by David R. Connand Robert G. Allan, P.Eng. Some veteran Mississippi pushboats and barges have been

U.S. Drillers Add Rigs Despite Crude Collapse

U.S. energy firms added 5 oil rigs this week after putting 21 rigs into service last week, the most in over a year, despite a collapse in U.S. crude prices from recent highs in June,

West Africa's August Crude Exports to Asia to Slip

West African crude oil exports to Asia were expected to fall to 1.84 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, Reuters data and a survey of traders showed.     Slower

Maritime Security

Missing Person Rescued Near Brackettville

On July 31, Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) agents and CBP Office of Air and Marine rescued a man who was reported missing the previous morning.

South China Sea Hotline in the Works

China and Southeast Asian nations have agreed to set up a foreign ministers' hotline to tackle emergencies in the disputed South China Sea, a senior official of

Three Rescued on Lake Tahoe

The Coast Guard and multiple agencies rescued three people Wednesday evening after they were reported missing on Lake Tahoe. At 9:45 p.m., Coast Guard Sector

News

Missing Person Rescued Near Brackettville

On July 31, Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) agents and CBP Office of Air and Marine rescued a man who was reported missing the previous morning.

Ross is Fleet Manager, Heidmar

Heidmar announced the promotion of Duncan Ross to Fleet Manager. Duncan joined Heidmar’s London office in 2012 as vessel manager.  Prior to joining Heidmar,

Fire Aboard USS Mount Whitney

A fire broke out on board USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) while the ship was in Viktor Lenac Shipyard (Rijeka, Croatia) July 31, 2015. There were no personnel injuries in the fire,

Offshore Energy

U.S. Drillers Add Rigs Despite Crude Collapse

U.S. energy firms added 5 oil rigs this week after putting 21 rigs into service last week, the most in over a year, despite a collapse in U.S. crude prices from recent highs in June,

NOIA Applauds Senate Passage of OPENS Act

NOIA President Randall Luthi issued the following statement on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s passage of the OPENS Act, which will open new

Shell Moves Ahead in Arctic with Exploratory Well

Shell Oil's icebreaker MSV Fennica weaved through nine remaining protesters hanging from the St. Johns Bridge and made its way toward the Pacific Ocean.   Authorities

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.1924 sec (5 req/sec)