Smuggling

Overview

BIMCO's position on "smuggling" has been approved by the BIMCO Board of Directors.

Background

The unwitting involvement of merchant ships with smuggling of drugs, weapons, wildlife and other goods is a serious problem for the shipping industry. Incidents occur every year where ships are used for smuggling, be it as part of the cargo or in specially designed containers hidden on board or even attached to the outer hull below the waterline. Although there is excellent cooperation and communication between custom/border control authorities, the World Customs Organization and the industry, there have been instances where innocent seafarers and companies have been held responsible for illegal goods placed on board their ships. 

Detention of ships and arrest of crews are not uncommon and the potential for large fines and penalties to an involved ship is very real. 

BIMCO’s position

  • Firm and prompt action should be taken by states against those using merchant ships for smuggling purposes. 
  • Based on a shared interest, shipowners, operators and other industry stakeholders should co-operate in combating all elements of smuggling.
  • Custom authorities should reward proactive and co-operative shipowners and operators in the form of priority treatment, minimal delays and mitigating circumstances on crew, ships, operators and shipowners in any investigation.
  • Agreements which formalise mitigating benefits are seen as a priority for BIMCO.

 

Leslea Petersen
in Copenhagen, DK

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