401 - 02/05 - Containers used in smuggling operations - South East Asia

The Club would like to make Members aware of a smuggling operation that has put containers with incorrect/conflicting identification marks into circulation. This commences with a request for the release of an empty container (container A) which is then stuffed with the goods to be smuggled. The bill of lading and other documents relating to the container are prepared to suggest a different cargo inside. The container is then shipped to a transit port.

Outside the transit port a second container (container B) sits laden with the goods as per the bill of lading for container A.  Container B is stripped of its external identification number and the CSC registration plate removed. The identification number is then replaced with an identical identification number and CSC registration plate as container A. 

Container B is then unlawfully brought into the transit port and switched with container A. Container A is then unlawfully taken from the transit port using forged release documents.

Container B is then shipped to the consignee and container A successfully smuggled into the transit port. The consignee repeats the process and containers with external ID numbers conflicting with its internal ID numbers are in circulation.

We have been informed that it is obvious to see that the false CSC registration plate is not genuine when looked at, as the engraving has been done by hand and the securing bolts are stuck on with a mastic (not standard). If any Member finds such a container onboard then it should be reported before discharged at the port and Signum Services informed. Shippers should also compare external and internal container identification numbers before stuffing.


Source of information:   

Mike Hawkins

SIGNUM Services

London, UK


+44 20 7283 5616

Industry developments

Polar Shipping

Legal, navigational and environmental resources, news and updates on the development of polar shipping. Read more

US VRP Compliance

With effect from 30th January 2014 non-tank as well as tankships calling at US ports will be required to submit VRPs.  For Club and other resources to assist in compliance click here

International Environmental compliance

Environmental Compliance resource page collates material in respect of International environmental compliance issues affecting our Members. Information from the Club, Loss Prevention and external resources has been collated in one place for ease of reference.

MLC 2006

The Maritime Labour Convention enters into force in August 2013 - resources, news & advice on implementation can be found in this dedicated section.  READ MORE

International sanctions

Recent guidance & corresponding material in respect of international sanctions against various countries has been updated with respect to temporary easing of sanctions against Iran.  READ MORE


Essential precautions and preparation against piracy, as well as additional information and resources, loss prevention advisories and useful external web links

Emergency Contacts

If you need to call our offices out of hours and at weekends, click After Office hours for a up to date list of the names of the Duty Executives and their mobile phone numbers. 

Ship Finder

This Ship Finder is updated on a daily basis. Members who need to advise the Club of updates to their recorded ships' details should advise their usual underwriting contact.