Containers Displaying False Identification References


Despite the introduction of the ISPS Code, organised criminal gangs are still focussing on weaknesses at container terminals to help them perpetrate crimes. To achieve this, they generally involve one or more of the terminal’s workforce, who are not only prepared to provide essential information, but also take an active role.

A recent Signum investigation concerning containers found with false identification references, demonstrated the precision that criminals apply when planning how to penetrate a terminal or shipping line’s defence system.

It was established that the alteration to these containers played an essential part of an elaborate smuggling syndicate operation incorporating three countries X, Y and Z. The smugglers aim was to move contraband goods from country X to country Y.

Members of the syndicate located in country X arranged for a carrier to ship a container, allegedly laden with a cheap cargo, to country Y for transhipment to a syndicate receiver in country Z. The container had in fact been loaded with contraband cargo.

Meanwhile, in country Y, other members were in possession of a similar container that had been stripped of all its identification markings, including the CSC plate and loaded with the cargo that should have been in the container shipped from country X.

On receiving the details of the container in country X, its identification reference was placed on to their container by the use of self-adhesive letters and numbers. This meant that there were two containers in existence with the same identical markings. A forged CSC plate was also attached showing the false identification reference, as was a stolen carrier’s seal.

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Staff Author