More than 12,000 cases of forgery have been unearthed in an investigation into seafaring competency commissioned by world shipping's legislative body, the IMO. "It's a serious problem," the report's author Bernardo Obando-Rojas told Reuters
. "Not at the officer level...but a large number of ratings (deck crew) certificates, safety certificates and pollution prevention certificates are fraudulent. It's very worrying."
The report by Cardiff-based Seafarers' International Research Center polled 54 maritime administrations including the seven main crew supplying nations, which generate over 60 percent of all seafarers.
The report said that of the 1,384 individual seafarers and 22 employers that it also polled, 82 percent had detected forged certificates of competency in the last five years. The IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) noted, however, that of the 12,635 reported cases of forgery, 12,000 had come from a single maritime administration in Southeast Asia, which it would not name.
A "major labor-supplying region in the Eastern and Central European region" was also mentioned.
"Data had also been collected that strongly suggested that authorized training institutes, maritime academies, local manning agents and even examiners appointed by administrations were involved in this fraud," said the MSC.