We have been made aware of several separate cases of theft of cobalt metal from containers in Mumbai. Two of these cases were part LCL shipments in containers originating from Rotterdam and two from Nagoya and Singapore respectively.
The original seals on all four containers were reportedly found to be intact at the time of delivery. All consignments were also noted to be stowed with dangerous goods amongst the other LCL cargoes. This is significant in that, under BPT (Bombay Port Trust) rules, containers containing hazardous cargoes must first go to the hazardous cargo designated area to destuff the hazardous contents. On destuffing of the hazardous material the containers are then dispatched to the agent's (BPT) designated destuffing point.
Cobalt is expensive and the agents/owners will have to pay customs fines up to twice the duty amount applicable; this in addition to the shortlanding claim.
There is no evidence in any of the cases that the theft took place in Mumbai although the number of incidents does indicate that perhaps there is an organised gang in operation.
(1) Members should be warned not to include dangerous goods in containers containing cobalt cargoes bound for Mumbai. This would eliminate double destuffing, chances of pilferage and give better security.
(2) At the loadport cobalt cargoes should be loaded first into the rear end of the container and properly secured with marked dunnage. Then at the time of destuffing it will be clear whether or not any pilferage has been attempted or whether or not it was shortloaded.
Source of Information :-
Capt K Irani
Tel +91 22 204 3253
Fax +91 22 284 2356