The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has released the details of an unusual container weight fraud case.
The incident involved a a container full of aluminium scrap, where the information on the outside the box was falsified to show the incorrect size and weight.
An IMB member was initially notified of a significant weight shortage on the container, which came from the Middle East and arrived in the Far East.
During the following investigation the member found that the tare weight of the container on the door was 3,680kg. The cube was 2,700 cubic feet. These numbers are usually displayed on a 40 foot container, where as this was a 20 foot one.
The shipper in question noted that the correct tare weight for the container should have been 2,200kg.
Photos of the container show that the door on which the figures had been written is a slightly different colour to the rest, leading to the belief that the container was repainted with the incorrect weight.
The container owner has denied responsibility, and IMB has stated that it “doubts its supplier was involved.”
The IMB believes this is unlikely to be an isolated case and is now asking others who detect similar falsifications of container information to report it.
The organisation said: “Misdeclaring the weight of containers can pose a danger to the vessel and crew. This also remains a contributing factor to incidents involving containers lost at sea.”
According to the World Shipping Council, an average of 546 containers have been lost at sea between 2008 and 2013, not including catastrophic events.