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

Legal

Man Earns Jail Time for Hoax Coast Guard Calls

A man found guilty of making numerous hoax calls to the U.K. Coastguard has been jailed for four months, the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reported.

Migrant Boat Sinks off Libya; 200 Feared Dead

A boat packed with mainly African migrants bound for Italy sank off the Libyan coast on Thursday and officials said up to 200 might have died. A security official in the western town of Zuwara,

Wärtsilä Scrubbers for Finnlines Vessels

Finnlines, a Ro-Ro and passenger vessel operator with services in the North and Baltic Seas, has contracted Wärtsilä to supply three vessels with exhaust cleaning scrubber systems.

Finance

Med Crude-Russian Urals Edges Lower in Med, Baltic

Russian Urals crude weakened in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic on Friday, while trading activity was limited ahead of a long holiday weekend in Britain, traders said.

Oil Plunge Deepens High-yield Gloom

US crude fell to a more than six-year low this week, clouding the picture for a high-yield energy sector that already faces a significant cull when credit lines are reevaluated in autumn.

NASSCO Invests in Facilities, Equipment and People

General Dynamics NASSCO has invested several hundred million in capital projects as part of its efforts to increase efficiencies via  modular shipbuilding, including:

Energy

Med Crude-Russian Urals Edges Lower in Med, Baltic

Russian Urals crude weakened in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic on Friday, while trading activity was limited ahead of a long holiday weekend in Britain, traders said.

Oil Plunge Deepens High-yield Gloom

US crude fell to a more than six-year low this week, clouding the picture for a high-yield energy sector that already faces a significant cull when credit lines are reevaluated in autumn.

Tropical Storm Erika Heads for Florida

Tropical Storm Erika lashed Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with heavy rain and fierce winds on Friday, moving across the Caribbean and apparently heading for the Dominican Republic,

Maritime Security

Iranian Ship, Crew Escape Captivity off Somali Coast

An Iranian fishing vessel and its crew have escaped after being held captive for five months by Somali fishermen, maritime piracy experts said on Friday, but it

Migrant Boat Sinks off Libya; 200 Feared Dead

A boat packed with mainly African migrants bound for Italy sank off the Libyan coast on Thursday and officials said up to 200 might have died. A security official in the western town of Zuwara,

Russian-Chinese Naval Drills End

The second phase of the Russian-Chinese Joint Sea-2015 naval maneuvers has officially ended outside the port of Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East, says spokesman

News

Man Earns Jail Time for Hoax Coast Guard Calls

A man found guilty of making numerous hoax calls to the U.K. Coastguard has been jailed for four months, the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reported.

Panama Canal Suspends Draft Restriction

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has lifted scheduled vessel draft restrictions brought on by lingering draught conditions in the region.   The ACP had previously set restrictions of 11.

Med Crude-Russian Urals Edges Lower in Med, Baltic

Russian Urals crude weakened in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic on Friday, while trading activity was limited ahead of a long holiday weekend in Britain, traders said.

Offshore Energy

MN 100: Bordelon Marine

The Company: Founded in 1979, Bordelon Marine is a leading provider of Marine Transportation services operating in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world. The

Yamal LNG Arctic Project in Doldrums

The massive $27 billion Yamal LNG liquefied-natural-gas venture in the Arctic Circle, a centerpiece of President Vladimir Putin’s plan for Russia has been squeezed by U.

MHI, SBG Invest in Wind Energy Startup Altaeros Energies

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. ("MHI") and the Suhail Bahwan Group ("SBG") have invested in Altaeros Energies, a Massachusetts-based technology company, to

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction 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: 0.4666 sec (2 req/sec)