830 - 06/12 - Theft of scrap metal from containers - Hong Kong

The Club has seen over the past year an increase in claims of theft of scrap metal from containers. A number of these cases have occurred in Hong Kong where criminals used an ingenious way to gain access to the container almost undetected.


One example case involved a container laden with scrap copper which was found missing at consignees' premises. The container was loaded at Hong Kong for a short voyage to mainland China. A discrepancy in the weight figures recorded by Shippers, Terminal and Consignees was noted however, the container was stowed high at the terminal and in the cargo hold on the vessel.  The container’s affixed bolt seal was found intact.  The handle rivet however, was found to have excessive amounts of rust when compared to the other three rivets.  By removing this single rivet the thieves were able to open the door bypassing the bolt seal.


According to the Club’s Hong Kong Office, there have been more than ten cases of containerised scrap metal theft over the past few months in Hong Kong. As metal prices remain high, scrap metal shipments will continue to be a target of theft. Members should be aware of this issue and be prepared to take precautionary measures to counteract this criminal activity.

 One such preventative measure is to bind the container doors using wires and seals. Taking pictures of the container doors will also help to assist defending any claim the ship may be presented with.

Also issued with this Loss Prevention Bulletin is the Signum Services report issued regarding this matter, “Container tampering”. Members would be well advised to make themselves familiar with this document which can be found at the following address. http://www.ukpandi.com/loss-prevention/signum-services/


Signum services are Thomas Miller’s criminal investigative branch. Details of Signum services can be found here: http://www.ukpandi.com/making-contact/other-services/signum/








Source of Information: 
Kelvin Lam
Thomas Miller (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong



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