A recent Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) newsletter reports that the last quarter of 2007 witnessed a number of fraud cases found by the authorities in Tanzania.
The ISS report details a shipment of four containers of copper cathodes shipped from Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, to consignees in Vancouver, Canada. When opened, the containers were found to contain sealed drums full of crushed/broken pieces of marble or similar products. The shipping line security seals were found to be intact but cargo inspector seals were not.
The cargo inspectors claimed to not be involved in the stuffing and sealing of these containers. In a circular which was released to the local press, the company confirmed that they do not carry out any pre-shipment inspection/certification for copper cathodes.
Following police investigation, the shipper admitted to deliberately mis-declaring the cargo and stuffing the containers with so called gem stones and not copper cathodes. The same shipper was involved in a similar case which was reported by a consignee in Korea. The investigation also found the shipper to be new to the shipping line involved.
Members are encouraged to inform their customers who may be interested in such shipments that:
· Tanzania does not produce copper; copper is transported to Dar Es Salaam by train from Zambia
· Fraudsters are known to use false mining company documents to confirm the origin of the copper. Buyers should therefore confirm their orders through the security department of the mine named in the shipping documents
· Pre-shipment inspection companies SGS and Intertek Agri Services do not carry out cathode cargo inspections in any port.
In order to avoid liability, and considering that carriers receive the containers already sealed, the bills of lading should be claused to the effect that shippers are accountable for the loading, stowing and counting of cargo.
Agents are urged to take every effort to protect blank bills of lading to prevent criminals gaining possession of them, and to be cautious when dealing with anyone unfamiliar who seeks to make a provisional booking for containers.
Source of information: Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS)