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ITIC Helps Avoid Attempted Crew Scam

THE International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) has uncovered what appears to have been an attempt by an individual to gain illegal entry into the UK by using the services of a ship agent.

The ship agent, based in Northern Scotland and a member of ITIC, was asked to place a superintendent on board a vessel called the “SKINER”, which was apparently enroute from Scandinavia to Ireland. The agent was asked to provide a letter of invitation so that the superintendent, of Jordanian origin, could apply for a visa.

The agent became suspicious when he could not find any trace of the vessel in an extensive search of industry databases. He contacted ITIC, which found a German-owned container vessel called the “SKIRNER” which appeared to have the same trading patterns and call signs as the other ship. When the agent then contacted the operators of the “SKIRNER”, they confirmed that they had no knowledge of the vessel going to Ireland, let alone having a superintendent go on board. It subsequently emerged that BIMCO had been alerted to a similar request for the “SKINER”, but this time for passage to Spain.

ITIC’s Adam Jacobson says, “Crew scams usually involve more than one person, but it seems that this latest incident is a variation on the theme of trying to get illegal immigrants into the UK, and indeed into other countries. Furthermore, it alerts us to the possibility that even more sinister motives may lie behind these sorts of incidents, given the high level of terrorism awareness now evident throughout the shipping industry.

“On this occasion, the experience and professionalism of the agent concerned, and his recourse to professional advice, averted a scam which could have had serious consequences.”

ITIC is managed by ITIM Co Ltd, a Thomas? Miller company. More details about the club and the services it offers can be found on ITIC’s website at www.itic-insure.com.