International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) has warned ship agents about the re-emergence of a scam whereby they are being used by people-smugglers to cover the movement of illegal migrants.
The basic pattern of the scam is for owners or managers to ask an agent to attend a vessel’s call, and to provide assistance with crew changes. Usually the owner or manager will be previously unknown to the agent.
The approach is a sham, but the agent’s involvement will provide cover for the migrants’ arrival in the country. The migrants will then promptly disappear, and the agent will be left with unpaid hotel bills and may face fines from immigration authorities as well as being liable for detention and repatriation costs if the migrants are caught.
ITIC has reminded all agents worldwide to be vigilant when being approached to carry out crew changes by owners or crew managers who are unknown to them.
ITIC is managed by Thomas Miller. More details about the club and the services it offers can be found on ITIC’s website at www.itic-insure.com