Container Tampering


Since the beginning of the year, Signum has investigated over thirty cases where sealed containers laden with high value cargo have reached their destination in an apparent secure condition, but when opened were found to be short loaded.

Subsequent inspection of the containers showed tampering to the door locking mechanisms. Such interference is not a new phenomenon and has been happening for years. The upsurge in the use of these methods by criminals is primarily due to the security initiatives that are in place for container security. Adoption of these means of entry reduces the chance of detection at the various interchange points. 

The very nature of international containerised transport involves various parties having custody of a container during its journey. Despite well-documented container security initiatives, unless a container is weighed and/or its door locking mechanism and seals are checked at every interchange point, a tampered container is able to transverse interchange points undetected.

When encountering these types of incidents it is important that all parts of the removed seal, whether the original or not, are retained. A thorough examination should be made of the container doors and its locking mechanism. Signs of replaced bolts, rivets damage marks or repainted areas should be recorded and, if possible, photographed.

The use of a digital camera or a mobile phone with such a facility is invaluable in these situations as prints can be immediately forwarded to interested parties. This is especially important to Signum when undertaking an enquiry.

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Staff Author