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Cyber Fraud – Payments of Agent’s Fees to Fraudulent Accounts

Over the past year, the Club has become aware of an increasing number of instances of cyber fraud involving Members.  The vehicle for the fraud in each of those instances was the interception of the ship’s agent’s emails and/or the hacking of the ship’s agent’s email account resulting in a request to send expected funds (e.g. anticipated disbursement accounts or cash for the Master) to a new bank account. 

The fraudulent emails on most occasions originated from the agent’s own email address (if their server had been hacked) or an email address extremely similar to the agent’s genuine email address and provided bank account details with only subtle differences from the agent’s genuine bank account. Since Members do not have any control over the security of an agent’s email accounts, as a precaution it is suggested that an additional check be implemented for any requests to make payments to new bank accounts (either where the agent has not been paid by Members previously or because the account details are different to an account that has received funds previously).  In particular, the Club suggests that the check includes independent verification of the bank details provided with a known contact by telephone or through a fresh email (rather than responding to the email requesting the change in bank account details which may itself be fraudulent).  Whilst this will inevitably increase the amount of administration associated with payments for Members, it offers protection against the loss of potentially significant sums.

01 Jul 2015

China – Vessel Pollution Response

Members should note that the PRC Ministry of Transport recently published revised Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Emergency Prevention and Handling of Marine Pollution Caused by Vessels (the “revised Regulations”), which became effective on 12 May 2015. The revised Regulations have the effect of removing the requirement on SPROs to be approved by the China MSA, and introduce instead a new supervision and examination procedure by the local MSAs. Under the revised Regulations, SPROs are also required to publish their capabilities, resources and service area for access by the public. Please click here for the Club’s recent Circular on this issue for further information.

For an up to date list of list of approved SPROs, Consortia and Agents, please click here.

16 Jun 2015

Yemen - Port Closure/Steps to be taken in Yemeni Waters


Members may be aware that recent conflict in Yemen resulted in port operations being suspended in Aden and, further, that Yemen’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs then confirmed formally that navigation in Yemen's territorial waters was banned unless permission had first been obtained from the Yemeni government and Saudi-led coalition forces. Additionally, the U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo targeting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels. The Club have now received an update from the Aden Correspondent, GAC, as follows:

There has not been any major changes in the situation in Yemen however as we have been getting so many enquiries wish to state the below.
Aden port is still closed and below are the other ports in Yemen
1)      Hodeidah port.
2)      Saleef port.
3)      Mokha port.
4)      Ras Isa port (loading port for crude oil).
These ports are working normally although there is high security levels at these ports and all vessels need to be cleared by the Saudi coalition prior to entering any of the Yemeni ports.  It is still a war zone and there is nothing further we can advise other than to be very cautious while going to any port in Yemen.
The information entry to Yemeni water:
Please be informed that any vessel calling Yemeni ports should be getting on entry permission from Ministry of Transport by the ships agent or receivers, before the vessel’s arrival to Bab Al-Mandab.
There is an official authorization from the legitimate Yemeni Government to the naval forces of the Saudi Arabian coalition to stop all ships calling at the Yemeni ports for the compulsory inspection before entry.
Currently the naval forces of the Saudi Arabian coalition have arrested some vessels at Bab Al Mandab for compulsory inspection to get the entry permission to the Yemeni ports. Therefore the ships will be allowed for call and to enter to the Yemeni territorial waters only after being inspected by the naval forces of the Saudi Arabian coalition.
Any vessel coming to the Yemeni ports should be calling to the naval forces of the Saudi Arabian coalition by VHF on channel 16 for the arrival registration before 3 miles of arrival to the Bab Al Mandab to get approval to enter Yemeni territorial waters and thereafter they will advise the ship's master about the anchor position until getting the final approval to enter after inspection.
They do not conduct investigation with the crew; but all contact will be with the ship's master or Chief Officer about the cargo and documents and The Master should advise them that he is awaiting permission number and further instructions.
Once the vessel is allowed to enter Yemeni ports, she will be required to call once again to the port control by VHF on channel 14 or 16 for the arrival registration and thereafter he will be advised the anchor position until berthing prospects confirmed by the Harbor master.
Members are recommended to take note of the above should they be calling Yemen.

10 Jun 2015

International Group - Annual Review - 2014/15


The International Group Annual Review 2014/15 was published recently and can be accessed by clicking here. The Review covers many of the key activities undertaken by the Group during the last P&I policy year and includes summaries of the work carried out by a number of its Sub-Committees and Working Groups on a range of issues, including the review of large casualties, places of refuge and the Maritime Labour Convention, which may be of interest to Members.

27 Apr 2015

Sudan Sanctions – US amends General Licence


Members will be aware of the ongoing US and EU sanctions against Sudan. Members should therefore note that on 18 February 2015, the US Authorities/Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued an amended general licence allowing the exportation and provision to Sudan of certain hardware, software and services incidental to personal communications.  As a consequence, Members may see exports of hardware such as smartphones, satellite phones, residential consumer satellite terminal and receiver equipment, laptop computers, and other electronic equipment being shipped to Sudan, probably in containers.  A copy of the licence can be accessed here.

Members are reminded that, despite this particular limited relaxation of sanctions against Sudan by the US, there are still both US and EU sanctions in place against Sudan. 

The EU sanctions focus mainly on a trade embargo on arms and related material (ie. military ammunition, weapons and goods) and a few targeted individuals (click here for the current EU sanctions).

However, the US maintains much broader trade and financial sanctions on Sudanese goods, persons and entities including wide prohibitions on the assistance/facilitation that can be given by a US person/entity. OFAC’s overview of the US Regulations with regard to Sudan sanctions can be accessed by clicking here. 

27 Feb 2015

South Africa – Stowaways


The Club has been advised by P&I Associates, a correspondent in South Africa, of a change in the approach taken by the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town to foreign nationals who are found, before a vessel has departed, to have unlawfully boarded a vessel in Cape Town. Previously such persons were treated as “trespassers”, so that the costs of repatriation did not fall on the vessel. However, the new approach means that foreign nationals found on board a vessel without the requisite permits will be treated as stowaways so that the cost of repatriation will fall on the vessel. This change is effective immediately and is already being applied in Durban. 

The Correspondent advises that Members should be vigilant to ensure that any person boarding a vessel in Cape Town or Durban, including stevedores, agents, ship chandlers, cleaners, immigration, ship repairers, marine surveyors and contractors are in possession of a Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) permit. Absent a permit, the Correspondent further advises that a person should be asked to leave the vessel and, if need be, taken to the bottom of the gangway and port security notified. The port, as the landlord, will then have the person detained and charged as a trespasser on their property.

Members should be guided by the above advice from the Correspondent. This is, of course, in addition to Members’ obligations to ensure that access to the vessel is controlled in accordance with the ISPS Code. 

18 Feb 2015

Brazil – Fire at Suzano Terminal, Itaqui Port


The Club has just received news of a fire that broke out earlier today at Suzano’s premises in Itaqui Port. Brazmar Marine Services Ltda, a correspondent in São Luis, reports that:-

“… the fire occurred in the premises of Messrs Suzano, one of the biggest cellulose exporters in the region. Although not yet confirmed, we understand that the Terminal's grain loading conveyor belt system has also been affected. No victims have been reported to date but the physical damage appears extensive. As a result of the incident, it is reasonable to foresee considerable delays to the loading / discharge operations.

The Terminal is currently not operating pending further instructions from the local authorities.”

Whilst the extent of the fire and resulting damage is not yet known, Members whose vessels are at or en route to load cargo from Suzano’s Terminal/Itaqui, or are ordered to do so in the future under existing charterparty arrangements, should be aware that there may be some delays. In the meantime, Members considering fixing a voyage to Itaqui may wish to give the above due consideration when negotiating contract terms. 

29 Jan 2015

Asian Gypsy Moth – New BIMCO Clause


In advance of the high risk season for Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) that commences in March, BIMCO has issued a new AGM Clause for Time Charterparties. The background to and wording of the AGM Clause are set out in the BIMCO Special Circular (click here).

Details of the AGM Regulations and links to websites of the relevant Authorities have been the subject of a previous News Alert, which can be accessed by clicking here.

27 Jan 2015

The Entry into Force of the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (WRC)


As reported in the Association’s circulars of 5 November and 23 December 2014, the WRC enters into force on 14 April 2015.

The 23 December circular (which can be accessed by clicking here) included information on the WRC States that had, at that date, agreed in principle to assist shipowners by issuing certificates to ships flagged in countries that are not party to the Convention. In addition to the four such WRC States referred to in the circular (UK, Germany, Denmark and Marshall Islands), Liberia and the Cook Islands have now agreed to issue WRC certificates to ships flagged in a State which has not ratified the Convention. 

The 23 December 2014 circular also included details of the contracting States to the WRC as at that date.  Since then the Convention has also been ratified by Liberia and Antigua & Barbuda. Ships flying the flags of a State which is party to the Convention should obtain their WRC certificates from their own registry.  The updated list of current contracting States is shown below: 

Wreck Removal Convention States**

Antigua & Barbuda*
Cook Islands
Marshall Islands*

*denotes that the State Party has extended the application of the Convention to wrecks located within its territory, including the territorial sea.
**at 19 January 2015

19 Jan 2015

News Alerts Archive

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